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Economic task force to present recovery plan to House

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THE governor’s Economic Task Force will meet with the House Standing Committee on Commerce and Tourism Monday morning in the House chamber to present the CNMI Community-Focused Recovery Plan.

This House committee is chaired by Reps. Joseph Leepan Guerrero and its members are Reps. Janet Maratita, Luis John Castro, Joseph Flores, Donald Manglona, and Ralph Yumul.

Last week, at Fiesta Resort, the task force presented the plan in a media conference conducted by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna, and the governor’s Covid-19 Task Force Chairman Warren Villagomez.

The plan entails a gradual phasing out of restrictions that have been limiting economic activity, taking into account health guidance and requirements, and establishing mechanisms to monitor or enforce the plan’s procedures.

It details four color-coded phases, from red to orange to yellow to green, in order of full restrictions and gradually descending to lesser restrictions.

The red phase signifies full commercial restrictions, a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and limited government services.

Next is the orange phase, which will reopen commercial fishing and Managaha, and also extend business hours from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

After that comes the yellow phase in which partial restaurant service opens, curfew is reduced to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and businesses can open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The green phase includes fewer restrictions, allowing beach gatherings of more than 15 people, and reducing curfew to 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Guidance and requirements for this plan will consider gathering sizes, operational activity, social distancing, and hygiene and cleaning.

It requires businesses to continue to place limitations on occupancy and distance between individuals, posting signage, avoiding physical contact, thermal monitoring, marking six-foot increments where lines form, requiring face masks, providing sanitizing resources, disinfecting spaces, and developing policies for identification and isolation of sick staff and customers.

In terms of monitoring or enforcing these procedures, the plan requires both customers and employees to wear face masks, encourages testing throughout the workplace and community networks, and connects onsite monitoring with healthcare mitigation and quarantine procedures.

“We will continue to be in a hole unless we start figuring out a way in which economic activity can resume in some level, form, or fashion,” said economic consultant Matt Deleon Guerrero, who presented the plan last week.

For his part, Tan Holdings vice president for corporate business development Alex Sablan said, “Our interest is to ensure that all of these mitigation measures are put in place for our domestic economy to ensure that our people feel relatively safe with all the measures that are being put in place. We are going to ask that we put a rigid process so that we ensure that everybody remains relatively safe.”

Torres, for his part, said: “We ask our community to be patient, to understand that we want to open up our community, tourism, business partners, in a manner [that] we can all adjust together. With the collaboration and support of our business partners, not all businesses will open up at the same time [and] not all businesses will close at the same time.”

He added, “I look forward to opening up our community, but, continue social distancing, continue proper hygiene, and continue wearing masks. If we all continue to take care of each other, have [more] patience with one another, and appreciate where we live, I am sure that our community will be stronger, because we are Marianas Strong.”

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