NMI may be headed to Level Green

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GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Tuesday said with many businesses already  reopening , the CNMI appears to be moving toward Community Vulnerability Level Green, which is the safest in the community vulnerability chart.

“Many businesses have opened up already or at least [have] the opportunity to open up,” he said, noting that the administration continues to work with all of the businesses on island.

The Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force chairman, Warren Villagomez, said, “With all the control measures that we have put in place, I also feel that we’re not restricting anyone based on what we have out there in regards to precautionary measures.”

He added, “We’re functioning as a community and we continue to measure the activities that are requested. We haven’t denied anyone, but we make sure that...they adhere to the Three W’s”: wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear a face covering.

Villagomez also discussed a widely celebrated holiday in the CNMI, All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1 and All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2,  both of which he said will look a little different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the task force will work with Bishop Ryan Jimenez and the clergy on feasible outdoor-setting measures that emphasize public health and safety, including the mental and social health of the community.

The governor said  he will follow through on the recommendations of the task force and CHCC regarding health protocols for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Villagomez reiterated that the task force is doing its best to accommodate the needs of the business community in light of this pandemic.

He added that there are a lot of discussions with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna  regarding the local economy, “bubble” tourism, and bringing the CNMI back to normalcy.

Curfew hours are still in effect, he said, noting that the differences in Community Vulnerability Levels Blue and Green are the limits on reopening of businesses due to certain risk factors.

He noted that there has been no new community-transmitted case for some time now, and the private schools that have reopened are adhering to Covid-19 measures and protocols.

“We really don’t see a huge risk at this time,” Villagomez said.

Torres, for his part, said, “I know that we want to open up everything, but at the same time, we’re basically almost there,” he said.

The 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. curfew hours are still in effect, but other than that, all businesses can reopen as long as they observe the safety protocols, he added.

The governor said there has been no outbreak in the CNMI, so far, because the community adheres to the directives.

“I know it’s difficult, but we try to do it as a community,” he said. “The system that we have at the airport in testing our [inbound passengers] is definitely — and I would say 100% — one of the other reasons why we don’t have community-based spread.”

Torres thanked CHCC CEO Muna, CHCC, the Covid-19 task force, and all first responders for their efforts.

“We’re doing everything that we can on our part, and we just want to ask our community to continue their support [by adhering to] the Three W’s,” he said.

Until the CNMI acquires a vaccine, he added, community members need to continue to help each other by adhering to the Covid-19 protocols.

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