Torres: Enforcement TF to strictly implement curfew
With COVID-19 patients that are deemed to be cases of community transmission and the recent surge in cases on Guam and other areas in the Pacific, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has issued a directive that reimplements curfew restrictions that he said will be more strictly enforced.
According to Torres, he has created an Enforcement Task Force under the COVID-19 Task Force to strictly enforce the new 10pm to 4am curfew, as well as the rest of the restrictions outlined in the new directive.
“We’re implementing the new directive starting Monday so that both our community and our business partners understand that these directives are a serious matter and that the Enforcement Task Force will be going around. Their purpose is to not penalize you. Their purpose is to make sure that our public health is taken as a serious matter. They will be going around and making sure that businesses and also our community adhere to the directive,” he said at a radio news briefing last Friday.
As part of strict enforcement of the curfew hours, the penalties for violating the curfew rules are as follows; first-time offense violators found in public, including individuals found driving on a public road during curfew hours, will be fined $200; second-time offense violators will be subject to a fine of $500; and the third-time or more will be subject to a fine of $750 or the impoundment of their vehicle by the Department of Public Safety.
Each passenger in the vehicle found driving on the public road during curfew hours will be subject to a fine of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense, and $300 for the third or more offense.
Torres added that he will continue to make drastic changes if need be, based on recommendations of CNMI doctors, the COVID-19 Task Force, and first responders.
“There’s a reason why decisions like these are made, because we’ve calculated what are the health risks. I will continue to make drastic changes and I will continue to make decisions that are based on doctor’s recommendations, first responders’ recommendations, as well as our task force recommendations. Our goal here has never wavered, that is our public health priority. We’ve seen other countries. We’ve seen South Korea increase by the thousands in one day. We’ve seen our neighboring island of Guam that reported 105 cases in one day. We’re very blessed,” he said.
Despite the changes, the CNMI remains under the Community Vulnerability Level Blue—one step away from Level Green, which is the safest level under the five-step color code being implemented by the CNMI.
According to press secretary Kevin Bautista, because of the significant increases on Guam, in Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, etc., the COVID-19 Task Force and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. have determined that the same measures that successfully protected the Commonwealth since the beginning of the pandemic must be reimplemented to prevent the further spread of the virus.
As part of the new directive, social gatherings of more than 10 people in a single room or single space are prohibited at the same time for social activities, including but not limited to community, civic, public leisure, or sporting events, parades, concerts, festivals, fiestas, conventions, fundraisers, and similar activities throughout the CNMI.
For churches, attendance is limited to 50% of allowed occupancy and maintaining social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
For the business hours, all businesses that have facilities open to the public shall only be open to the public from 4am to 9pm.
Initially, the occupancy rate for businesses under community Vulnerability Level Blue was at 75% of the occupancy rate. The new directive states that it must revert back to 50%.
All businesses engaged in gaming, including the casino, video poker establishment, and e-gaming facilities are closed to the public except as authorized to operate under an approved reopening plan by the governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and CHCC.
All public parks, public pathways, and public beaches are open only for outdoor recreation for the purposes of exercise and wellness, both physical and mental, and in shoreline subsistence fishing such as net fishing, rod and reel and commercial fishing activities, subject to social distancing requirements.
Social gatherings in public parks, public pathways, and the public beaches are temporarily prohibited under the temporary restrictions.
All public and private schools in the Commonwealth shall remain closed for in-person instruction, and activities until further notice.