New dos and don’ts at airport

Persons dropping off passengers now barred from entering terminal

Effective last Thursday, persons dropping off passengers at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport are no longer allowed to enter the terminal. If goodbyes have to be made, do it at the parking lot. That is just one of the “new normal” rules at the airport as part of the action plan the Commonwealth Ports Authority put together to prepare for the July 15, 2020, target date of reopening the CNMI to tourists.

In his PowerPoint presentation during Thursday’s CPA board committees’ meeting, CPA executive director Christopher S. Tenorio said those seeing off passengers at the airport will only be allowed to enter the terminal if they are escorting unaccompanied minors or special-need passengers.

Also, taxi and shuttle operators may not wait for passengers immediately outside the arrival exit point, Tenorio said, adding that CPA will designate areas for operators to pick up passengers.

Tenorio said their aim is to complete the action plan by July 15 and that they did some testing last Thursday morning and would be doing another one last Saturday, June 20. “CPA aims to minimize the potential adverse health impact of COVID-19 by slowing the spread of the disease in the CNMI and at its ports,” he said.

Tenorio said CPA also seeks to minimize COVID-19’s impact on the CNMI economy by maintaining trust and confidence among its airport partners and the traveling public.

To these ends, he said, CPA is dedicated to providing a safe, clean, and secure airport for its passengers, employees, and tenants by implementing what are deemed “best practices” for safety and economic recovery.

Tenorio said some of the steps that they are actually doing right now at the terminal will also apply to the airports on Tinian and Rota.

On cleaning and sanitation, he said, CPA will continue implementing enhanced cleaning and sanitation of its airports to reduce the spread of COVID-19. That includes sanitation of all surfaces and increased cleaning efforts in restrooms and other public areas.

He said their maintenance or CPA custodians are the ones doing the cleaning right now, but CPA could also potentially hire professional cleaners to come in at least once a month to disinfect the whole terminal.

On social distancing and precautionary measures, Tenorio said CPA will continue to encourage and enable social distancing by implementing precautionary measures throughout the airport such as installing plexiglass protection barriers at CPA administration and CPA accounting.

He said floor decals will be placed every 6 feet in passenger queuing areas and plexiglass dividers will be installed at the TSA check station.

Tenorio said airport employees, airport tenants, vendors and visitors are required to wear face masks in public areas and non-public areas.

At baggage claim, he said, floor decals will be placed every 6 feet in the passenger queuing area.

For arriving passengers, Tenorio said, signage will be placed to inform arriving passengers to maintain social distancing.

He said thermal screening and/or temperature reading of arriving passengers will be performed upon arrival.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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