Gov. Ralph DLG Torres rallied all heads of his Cabinet Saturday morning to discuss updates on the measures being taken by the government to tighten its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the meeting, Torres asked everyone to prepare to mobilize their staff should there be a situation where their offices will be asked to perform work related to COVID-19.
The governor essentially gave the same instruction last March 16, when he placed the CNMI under the state of public health emergency and the continued state of significant emergency, when he stated that, despite the government shutdown for two weeks, every department will remain on stand-by should its services be needed.
Torres said that, regardless of the status, whether its austerity Friday, 64 hours, or on lockdown, if an employee gets called to work on COVID-19, the employee should jump up and work on COVID-19.
“I know it’s a challenge moving forward, but I really need you to be on the top of our issues,” Torres told the heads of his Cabinet. “Everybody in this room holds a position for a reason, so do I. So let’s go and let’s make sure to take all the precautionary measures for all of your staff.”
“We ask you for your leadership ability,” Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said. “There are going to be situations where an office or department is going to be asked to perform work directly related to COVID-19. Please understand that once that request is made, have your employee there.”
As the threat of COVID-19 moves closer to the CNMI, with Guam’s 26 confirmed cases, and yesterday’s announcement of one death—the first in the Pacific—the CNMI is taking no chances and is taking all measures to ensure and safeguard the health of all of its residents.
Torres assured that federal support is on its way, that the CNMI is not alone in this crisis, and that he has been working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide economic injury disaster loans for our affected businesses.
“This crisis is bigger than politics and bigger than ourselves,” Torres said.
Acknowledging that this is a challenging time for the Commonwealth, the governor reiterates that “if we all work together, help each other out, and promote social distancing, we can beat this virus.”