POSITIVE NEWS AMID PANDEMIC
FEMA build and repair homes plans are in effect
It’s not all doom-and-gloom these days.
Despite the limited hours of many businesses in the CNMI, goods and services continue to flow efficiently into the CNMI community. Garbage is still regularly picked up as scheduled. And there is no immediate danger of running out of toilet paper.
According to CTSI Logistics Saipan general manager Joven Cruz, they are operational despite the crisis. “As of now, we get 50 containers that arrive every other week and I know other shipping companies on island like APL, Matson, and Kiyo have containers that arrive every week. …As long as there is a demand from companies on island, CTSI will provide a stable service,” he added.
CTSI facilitates the release of deliveries from ships that carry supplies to the CNMI. These cargoes carry different supplies like food, medicine, water, liquor, frozen goods, and chilled seafood to name a few. These shipments come from Guam, Micronesia, Asia, and from shipment consolidations that come from Los Angeles.
Alvin Lorenzo, of Cargo Express Saipan, said that some of their clients have become inactive due to the current circumstances, but this has not impaired their service. “…We still have the same staff even though business has become slow. ….We are still looking into options on how we can maintain our operating hours and cut costs but we assure everyone that we continue our forwarding and trucking services even in these tough times.”
The company has international partners that continue to ship cargo to Saipan. Most of Cargo Express Saipan’s goods come from the U.S. mainland (mainly California), Guam, the Philippines, China, South Korea, among others.
“…Walk-in clients are free to drop by from 8am to 1pm. …Deliveries of ISO containers—20-foot/40-foot/45-foot containers—are still the same, from 8am to 5pm,” he added.
Although running on new operating hours, restaurants continue to serve food via take-out. Many of them are taking advantage of social media to take in orders and deliver them, like Tom Yum Restaurant on Middle Road. “We call it Tom Yum Restaurant online service where people can add this page of their Facebook network. On the page, people can see our full menu and, by sending us a message, they can place an order and state the pick-up time. …This way, we are still accessible,” Tom Yum owner Natalia Gvan said.
To make it simple for Ina’s Kitchen customers, their full menu is available on Instagram and they can call the restaurant to place an order.
Aside from take-out, 360 Revolving Restaurant in Susupe also offers delivery service at specific times. Place your order via text, message or logging in to their website and Eats Easy provides food delivery service and grocery delivery through their Easy Grocery app.
Maria Valenzuela of San Vicente said that Artman Trash service is still on schedule. “I was afraid that the cutting of operating hours might affect their services. But they still pick up trash in my neighborhood at the same day and time,” she said.
Going two years since Super Typhoon Yutu hit the CNMI and despite of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is still building and repairing homes on Saipan and Tinian. “FEMA and their contractors are maintaining their delivery schedules for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yutu,” said FEMA external affairs officer Mark “Todd” Hoose.
“Our FEMA contractors are practicing social distancing and appropriate cleaning efforts, as outlined by the governor, but safe secure housing for the residents of the CNMI is certainly a priority to all of us,” Hoose added.
The CNMI has been living under a new normal the past few days due to COVID -19 concerns and the resulting business limited hours imposed by the CNMI government but, as shown by these examples, business still does go on for some.