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Covid-19 Task Force shuts down 2 non-compliant business establishments

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OF the 245 business establishments inspected, 85 were found non-compliant with the Covid-19 safety regulations and two were shut down by the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force — Kool Laundromat in Kagman III and Cheers Karaoke Bar in Garapan.

David Maratita, director of the Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco Control Division of the CNMI Department of Commerce, said  there was overcrowding in Cheers Karaoke Bar, there was no crowd control and  social distancing was not observed.

In addition, Maratita said, the contact tracing logbook of the bar was incomplete and included bogus names, such as “Maximus” and “Minimus,” and names of characters from “Game of Thrones.”

“It may sound funny, but this is not a joke,” Maratita said during the press briefing on KKMP radio. “We cannot condone that…we cannot do the actual tracing if there is a [Covid-19 case].”

ABTC is part of the task force enforcement team.

Covid-19 Task Force Chairman Warren Villagomez said  as early as March, they have been asking  establishments to ensure that the names and contact information in their logbooks are real.

As for Kool Laundromat, Maratita said it had no staff member to maintain crowd control and to regularly sanitize the premises.

But the two establishments that were shut down are now working with the task force, he added.

They were asked to submit mitigation measures, which the task force will review. If found acceptable, they will be allowed to reopen. 

On Saturday evening, the task force temporarily shut down Saipan Vegas and Club 88, Villagomez said.

“We decided to close these businesses until [mitigation] issues and documentations are rectified and updated,” he added.

On Aug. 20, the task force shut down Relox and Safe House bars in Garapan for failure to comply with social distancing rules. They will be closed for one month, Villagomez said.

He added, however that the main goal of the enforcement team is to help establishments comply with the directives and ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

Maratita noted that of the 245 inspected establishments, over 150 or 63% were compliant and the 85 that were not compliant were advised, educated and warned to “remedy their infractions.”

He said the most common infractions include the lack of plexiglass in the counter area; the main entrance and exit flow signs need to be upgraded; and failure to regularly or frequently sanitize  door handles or shopping carts.

The task force will soon conduct another round of inspections.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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