With people swarming supermarkets to stock up Sunday after Guam initially announced its three positive COVID-19 cases, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has appealed to the community to not panic and to shop only for what is needed.
Following the governor’s declaration of the CNMI under a state of public health emergency and a continued state of significant emergency, residents formed lines in stores to stock up on food items.
“Obviously, we’re trying to encourage our community, if you’re [going to] go [shopping], just shop for what you need, because the delivery of goods will continue to come at a normal pace,” Torres said during a KKMP interview last Tuesday.
“Do we have challenges? Of course. Are we concerned? Of course. [But] we shouldn’t be panicking [or be] in a panic mode because, no matter what that situation is, being in a panic mode—panicked family, panicked community [and] society—does not help.”
Legislators have also appealed to the community to also remember others when buying anything.
Rep. Tina Sablan (Ind-Saipan), for one, asked everyone to remember that one’s ability to maintain good health depend on everyone else’s ability to do so as well.
“When you shop, buy what you need and leave some for others. Be considerate. If you are a storeowner, please consider posting signs reminding people that shipping supply lines remain consistent so customers should only buy what they need,” she added.
The governor also said that the administration is in communication with the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, and that the delivery of all shipments that have been ordered are on time and on schedule.
Torres is also urging businesses to prioritize sanitation.
“For the businesses, obviously, we all share the same pain, but the priority is having sanitation for every customer that come to your business,” he said.
The Torres administration is also working with the Small Business Administration, with the governor sending a letter to ask SBA to look into the needs in the CNMI, given the pandemic, and how to move forward in addressing to assist all of the small businesses on the island.
President Donald J. Trump, during his declaration of a national emergency last Friday, has ordered SBA to provide economic loans in COVID-19 affected territories.