CNMI Governor announces closure of government offices out of coronavirus concerns

CNMI Governor Ralph Torres (file photo)

CNMI Governor Ralph DLG Torres announced late Sunday night the closure of all government offices starting Monday, March 16 amidst increasing coronavirus concerns.

Torres issued a memorandum addressed to all heads of departments and agencies in the Commonwealth informing them of the closure.

In the memo, Torres also requested all non-essential government employees to stay at home until further notice. He also ordered a  halt to non-essential government functions.

“We know we have received news about the three confirmed positive COVID-19 cases on Guam. While the CNMI remains without a confirmed case, we continue our ongoing surveillance measures, which we started since January, at the airport, hospital, and around Saipan, Tinian, and Rota,” Torres said in a statement on social media.

The governor said he will also meet with Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) CEO Esther Muna and the COVID-19 Task Force today to push forward the next steps of the CNMI’s COVID-19 pandemic plan.

Schools, manamko centers closed 

Torres also announced the closure of the CNMI’s Manamko Centers and the Garapan Street Market until further notice.

According to Torres, the CNMI Public School System is also suspending classes today until Wednesday. He said officials will decide on the class schedules during the Board of Education meeting this week.

The Northern Marianas College is also suspending all face-to-face classes until March 17. Torres said the majority of the face-to-face courses will transition to online platforms on Wednesday, March 18. Meanwhile, other classes will transition by March 23.

NMC classes that are conducted entirely online will continue as scheduled.

Torres said more information on the closure will be provided today.

Here is the memo from the CNMI Governor’s Office: