CNMI now on community vulnerability ‘Level Blue’

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(From the CNMI Office of the Governor)

In line with approved guidance by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) and community-based testing data by the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, Governor Ralph DLG. Torres announced on Monday that the CNMI can now responsibly initiate the next phase in the implementation of its Economic Recovery Plan from Community Vulnerability Level “YELLOW” to “BLUE.”

Under the CNMI Economic Recovery Plan, Community Vulnerability Level “BLUE” signifies significant progress in community-based testing. “BLUE” represents the fourth point of phasing before “GREEN” and ensures that precautions continue to be made to ensure thresholds of positive cases are regularly monitored.

Under the recent amendment to the CNMI COVID-19 Emergency Directives, Community Vulnerability Level “BLUE” means:

  • Gatherings of no more than 25 people in a single room or single space are permitted throughout the Commonwealth.
  • All businesses that have facilities open to the general public are now open from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

o   Posting of “one-way” flow signs for entrance and “one-way” flow signs for exit; maintaining crowd control; availability of hand sanitizer station on entry and on exit; provide methods to ensure protective barriers between worker and customer (Ex: face shield, plexiglass barrier at customer counters); and ensuring there are visible customer lineup markers that are six feet apart leading to the cashier counter.

o   Businesses must regularly and frequently clean all surfaces; sanitize main entrance door handles; sanitize handles of shopping baskets and shopping carts after each use; sanitize handles for chill boxes, cooler, and freezers.

o   Businesses (that are not restaurants or bars) shall also limit occupancy to 75% in accordance with supplemental regulatory guidance set by the CHCC Bureau of Environmental Health (BEH) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) Building Code.

o   All businesses engaged in recreational or amusement type activities and gaming, including the casino, video poker establishments and e-gaming facilities, remain closed to the public.

  • All businesses that offer food or beverages for on-premises consumption, including bars and restaurants, must serve dine-in customers under social distancing parameters and at 50% of their originally permitted occupancy limit, in accordance with supplemental regulatory guidance from the CHCC-BEH.

o   In addition to social distancing, restaurants and bars must do temperature screening of all patrons entering their premises.

o   Food establishments are highly encouraged to use outdoor dining space wherever possible, in accordance with established supplemental regulatory guidance from the CHCC-BEH and social distancing guidelines.

  • Bars are permitted to reopen with temperature screening before entry.

o   Outdoor spaces are highly encouraged whenever possible.

  • Curfew Hours are now 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

o   Exceptions to Curfew Hours remain:

  • First responders while in performance of their official duties
  • Any person lawfully employed during the Curfew Hours or is in direct route of going to or returning from their place of employment
  • Any person going to or returning from admission to the hospital or completion of treatment such as hemodialysis.
  • Church and worship services can now limit attendance to 50% of allowed occupancy and maintain social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
  • Gyms remain open. Non-contact recreational activities (such as gym workouts and group exercises) are permitted under strict social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
  • Mañagaha Island continues to be open to the public so long as social distancing requirements are implemented for both transport vessels and on-island activities. Transport vessels must be subject to constant and consistent disinfection.  
  • All public beaches and pathways are open only for purposes of exercise and wellness, both physical and mental, and shoreline subsistence fishing such as talåya, rod and reel, and commercial fishing activities, subject to the social distancing requirements stated in these COVID-19 Emergency Directives.

o   Provided further that exercise, wellness and shoreline subsistence and commercial fishing activities are only allowed from 4:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. daily.

  • All public parks including the Grotto remain closed to the public.
  • Hotels, tour operators and tourism industry stakeholders must finalize preparations for thermal monitoring and establish internal Standard Operating Procedures for mitigating risk in preparation for tourist arrivals alongside public health officials. 
  • Preparations among tourism operators may continue in anticipation of the resumption of flights and guidance should be sought to Federal Officials on the steps necessary to resume international flights 

For more information, please refer to the CNMI Economic Recovery Plan or the latest amendments to the CNMI COVID-19 Emergency Directives of 2020 at www.governor.gov.mp.