Responding to the new business-hours directive, House minority leader Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan), via livestream, urged Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to amend his Second Amended Executive Order 2020-04 and allow stores to operate beyond the prescribed 6am-1pm, which are the new base operating hours set for businesses.
“For the sake of our community, please amend your EO to allow stores to operate beyond 6am and 1pm. Stores are essential to the community, unlike poker parlors,” Propst said.
By reducing the hours for stores to operate, they will be more crowded and congested, he said, which is likely to be more detrimental to the health and safety of store employees and shoppers.
“If we are trying to prevent coronavirus through social distancing, the worst thing that you could possibly do is to cram in all the hours of shopping into a very small limited time,” he said. “If you do this, you are actually going to endanger the cashiers, the stockers, the people working in the stores, you’re also going to endanger the lives of those who are shopping. The logic is deeply flawed and illogical.”
Propst stressed that stores are essential, and that they have to be protected. He also highlighted that safety guidelines must be ensured when shopping and that social distancing must be observed in stores.
The reduction of the business hours—when facilities can open to the public and took effect yesterday—is part of the COVID-19 preventative measures being set by the CNMI government, following the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in Guam.
Further, when open to the public, businesses are encouraged to follow the recommended at least 6 feet social distancing practice, among other safety measures.
In support of the new directive, businesses have been posting their new adjusted hours and services via social media, also informing their customers of any off-site services past the 6am to 1pm hours.
Joeten, for one, released that all its stores, including Aiko’s Deli, will operate from 8am to 1pm, with man’amko shopping hours from 7am to 8am at their stores in Susupe, Garapan, and Dandan.
A laundry shop, Wash & Wear Washland, announced that they are open for walk-ins from 6am to 1pm, and drop-off until 3pm.
The governor earlier said that decreasing the points of interaction and contact between people would aid in the prevention and containment of COVID-19 in the CNMI.