Businesses required to implement new social distancing rules

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UNDER the amended Executive Order 2020-04 of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, businesses are required to implement specific social distancing guidelines.

Marks are seen on the floor of a grocery store to indicate the required distance between individuals.  Photo by K-Andrea Evarose S. Limol

According to the governor’s newly amended Directive 14, all businesses that are still open to the public during the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. — including gaming facilities such as the casino, video establishments, and e-gaming centers — are required to implement the following social distancing guidelines:

• Post “one-way” flow signs for entrance and “one-way” flow signs for exit.

• Maintain crowd control.

• Have clearly visible customer lineup markers that are six feet apart leading to the cashier counter.

• Regularly and frequently clean all surfaces.

• Sanitize main entrance door handles.

• Sanitize handles of shopping baskets and shopping carts.

• Sanitize handles for chill boxes, cooler, and freezers.

• Limit the number of customers within their stores at any time to 50% of their permitted occupancy, as set by the Department of Public Works or DPW Building Code.

The Department of Commerce is responsible for verifying that businesses are adhering to the governor’s social distancing guidelines.

Furthermore, Directive 14 reads, “If, upon inspection by the Department of Commerce, it is determined that the business did not properly implement social distance guidelines, then the business must immediately properly implement the guidelines. If the business is unable to properly implement the guidelines, then the business shall remain closed until it can and does in fact, properly implement the guidelines.”

There are certain modifications and exceptions to this directive.

Any business that serves food or beverages — such as restaurants and bars — can no longer offer dine-in options, only takeout food and beverages “through means such as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive through, and curbside pick-up.”

However, the additional amendments to the directive restricts any and all takeout delivery or pick-up during the island wide curfew hours of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Gasoline stations are now also required to adhere to the curfew hours and not dispense fuel outside of the curfew hours.

In regards to food trucks, these particular businesses can still serve food and beverages for takeout, so long as they “ensure that they have an environment where patrons maintain adequate social distancing.”

Hotel restaurants may continue to provide room service and takeout, and catering services may continue.

Businesses that are located in the airports or the hospital are exempt from this directive.

All public parks, beaches, and pathways — including Managaha Island and the Grotto — are closed to the public.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is exempted from the limited business hours, and is allowed to set hours that they deem fit to conduct necessary services to better the health of community members.

CHCC, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Commerce-Alcoholic Beverage & Tobacco Control Division, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and any other necessary Commonwealth agency will be enforcing the directive.

Failure to follow the executive order will subject the violator to penalties available under the law.

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