Based on a Saipan Tribune article posted on March 30, it is clear that making stores close at 1pm (a policy in effect only the previous week) was a very bad idea, as it had resulted in crowding, which is precisely what we are all trying to avoid. Extending the permitted business hours, effective March 28, was the solution to this problem. Now I am asking for an official or expert explanation as to what makes 6pm the magic hour, particularly now that the curfew was moved from 7pm to 10pm on May 1.
Sure, 6am to 6pm (which reportedly has been in effect since March 28) has a nice ring to it, but what else? How is it any safer for restaurants to be open at breakfast or lunch time than at dinner time? Social distancing rules are in effect in any case, and masks are typically required at stores, where employees are expected to keep surfaces extra clean, prevent crowding, etc. What’s stopping the governor from allowing businesses to extend their hours within the period that we are allowed to be out, say to 9pm? Then each business can decide for themselves if it’s worth closing later than is currently allowed, but surely a lot of markets, restaurants, and their customers would be happy rather than worried if these establishments were open closer to regular hours. I don’t see how working or getting food after 6pm poses a threat to anyone, and no one has been able to explain this to me. Please help us make sense of this policy, or help the policy make sense.
Puerto Rico, Saipan