Star Marianas Air Inc. said yesterday that they are not requiring interisland passengers to present a health screening document before boarding, which contradicts an earlier statement from the Office of the Governor.
Star Marianas clarified that they have been seeing announcements in various social media posts that they are requiring a health screening certificate for all passengers traveling interisland when their limited scheduled flight service resumes tomorrow, Friday.
“For clarification, the airline has no such requirement,” Star Marianas said in their Facebook account.
This contradicts a press release yesterday by the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., which outlines procedures for outgoing and incoming travelers for the CNMI.
It said individuals traveling within the CNMI do not need proof of a lab test for interisland travel, but that Star Marianas is requiring proof of a health evaluation to board.
When asked about the inconsistency, press secretary Kevin Bautista said last night that he just received clarification that the government stands by its pronouncement.
Bautista said there is no agreement to put CHCC staff at the airports because that would take away the staff that would have been dedicated to direct patients care for COVID-19.
“We don’t dictate what Star Marianas does,” he added.
Bautista said for the last several weeks, Star Marianas has asked its passengers to have a health evaluation form before boarding the plane. He said Star Marianas has made this a requirement and not CHCC for passengers to ask CHCC for a health screening form. Bautista said Star Marianas passengers are going to CHCC, asking for the screening form.
Star Marianas said yesterday that it has been communicated to them that there will be representatives from CNMI Public Health stationed at the airports on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota who will be conducting health screening of passengers prior to departure or upon arrival.
Star Marianas reiterated that they are not requiring passengers to present any health screening or clearance document prior to travel.
“For the safety of our passengers and crew members we are requesting all passengers to wear a face covering at all times when on board our aircraft,” Star Marianas said.
Star Marianas recently announced that after consultation with, and at the request of various CNMI government agencies, their new target start of limited passenger operations is now this Friday.
Star Marianas said this announcement does not affect their current operations of cargo flights, medical patient transfers, and COVID-19 related support flights.
Star Marianas suspended its flights between Saipan, Tinian, and Rota last April 2, but continued to provide 24-hour emergency flight services and interisland air cargo services.