The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will remove the CNMI, Guam, and other U.S. territories from its COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination on Dec. 6, 2021.
This policy change will formally list the CNMI as a domestic destination for the United States. For most of the pandemic, the CNMI was classified by the CDC as “Level 1: COVID-19 Low,” meaning that it is listed as a safe destination with low community transmission.
“The White House informed me earlier today that the CNMI will be removed from CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination, paving the way for the safe return to normal tourism for our islands,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in a news release last night. “The Marianas is open for business as a tourism destination, and we have a proven track record during this entire COVID-19 response through our travel quarantine protocols, testing requirements, and successful vaccination efforts of our people. This policy change by the CDC speaks to the strong measures we have in place. CNMI has been a model for the Pacific and the nation in mitigating against COVID-19, and we will continue to keep our hospitalization rate low and safeguard our man’amko, our chronically ill, and our loved ones through strong protective measures and by practicing the 3Ws.”
In Guam, Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio, in his capacity as acting governor, also released a statement about the decision.
“Effective Dec. 6, Guam will be removed from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination, and we will be considered domestic travel. As a U.S. territory, we welcome this news, which aligns us with our stateside counterparts and better positions us for reopening to our tourism markets sooner. Not only is Guam ‘Where America’s Day Begins,’ but we have continually been a leader in this pandemic response, instituting mandatory travel quarantine, mask mandates, and proof of vaccination requirements earlier than others. We believe this change also recognizes the tremendous progress we have made in recent weeks, combating the third surge of COVID-19.”