Memo – Amendments to the CNMI COVID-19 Emergency Directives of 2020 modifying business hours, allowing for social gatherings at public beaches, and modifying curfew hours

DATE:             August 5, 2020

FROM:           Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation

                        Special Assistant for Homeland Security & Emergency Management

TO:                  All Department and Activity Heads and Members of the Public

WHEREAS, since the promulgation of Executive Order 2020-01 on January 29, 2020 which declared a State of Significant Emergency throughout the Commonwealth and established response, quarantine, and preventive containment measures with regard to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), Governor Ralph DLG. Torres’ administration has implemented strict but necessary constraints on activities throughout the Commonwealth in an effort to avert and mitigate the spread of the disease throughout our community; and

WHEREAS, due in large part to the quick implementation of these risk mitigation measures by the CNMI Government and the community, the CNMI has effectively flattened the peak of this curve; and

WHEREAS, along with the rest of the nation and the world, the CNMI Government has already begun the administering of cautious and responsible transition measures that will allow for the regaining of a sense of normalcy for our community along with the critical recovery of our economy in the forecasted downturn of the spread while ensuring that protections against further outbreaks and future threats are put in place; and

WHEREAS, due to the continued success of our COVID-19 preventative measures at the borders, as well as the cooperation of our community in adhering to guidance from our health officials, the CNMI remains safe from the spread of COVID-19, thus further relaxation of restrictions is warranted;

NOW, THEREFORE, we hereby direct that the following amendments be made to the existing CNMI COVID-19 Emergency Directives:


(a)   As authorized under 1 CMC § 2191(d)(2) and NMIAC 140- 10.3-340, and subject to the modifications and exceptions stated in section (b) of this Directive, all businesses that have facilities open to the general public may be open to the public from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Outside of those hours, businesses may operate but may not be open to the general public. Businesses may not conduct drop-off/pick-up and delivery services during the curfew hours set in Directive 16.

Businesses covered by this section must implement the following social distancing guidelines: Posting of “one-way” flow signs for entrance and “one-way” flow signs for exit; maintaining crowd control; availability of hand sanitizer station on entry and on exit; provide methods to ensure protective barriers between worker and customer (Ex: face shield, plexi-glass barrier at customer counters); and ensuring there are visible customer lineup markers that are six feet apart leading to the cashier counter. Businesses must regularly and frequently clean all surfaces; sanitize main entrance door handles; sanitize handles of shopping baskets and shopping carts after each use; sanitize handles for chill boxes, cooler, and freezers.

Businesses covered by this section shall also limit occupancy to 75% in accordance with supplemental regulatory guidance set by the CHCC and the Department of Public Works (DPW) Building Code.

Businesses covered by this Directive are subject to verification by the Department of Commerce and assisted as necessary by agencies listed under (c). If, upon inspection by the Department of Commerce, it is determined that the business did not properly implement required social distance guidelines, then the business must immediately properly implement the guidelines. If the business is unable to properly implement the guidelines, then the business shall remain closed until it can and does in fact, properly implement the guidelines.

(b) Modifications and Exceptions: 

* * *

(3) All public beaches and pathways are open for all recreational activities, including social gatherings, subject to the social distancing requirements stated in the CNMI COVID-19 Emergency Directives.

* * *



(a)   Pursuant to the authority granted under Executive Order 2020-04, as amended, and as renewed, 1 CMC § 20144(h)(4)(ii), 3 CMC § 2191(d)(2) and NMIAC § 140-10.3-340, no person, adult or minor, shall loiter or be present in, on or about any public streets, highways, roads, alleys, parks, public buildings, places of amusement and entertainment, or vacant lots and places within the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.  Violators will be subject to the penalties described in NMIAC § 140-10.3-401 or the penalties stated below in Section (d).

(b)  Exceptions to Curfew.  Section (a) shall not apply to law enforcement officers while in the performance of their official duties, DFEMS personnel while in performance of their official duties and other first responders while in the performance of their official duties.  Section (a) shall also not apply to any person who is lawfully employed during the hours specified, or is in the direct route of going to or returning from their place of employment. Section (a) shall also not apply to any person going to or returning from admission to the hospital or completion of medical treatment such as hemodialysis.

(c)   The Mayors of the municipalities may alter the hours, and the exceptions, as they deem necessary to accommodate local needs and conditions of their municipality.  However, these alterations shall not undermine the reasons for the curfew.

(d)  The Department of Public Safety, in coordination with and with the assistance of CHCC, the Department of Commerce, Alcohol Beverage & Tobacco Control Division, the Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services, and any other necessary commonwealth agency, shall enforce this Directive. Failure to follow this Directive will subject the violator to the following:

Penalties for violating Curfew mandates:

1.     First-time offense violators found in public, including individuals found driving on a public road, outside of the curfew hours will be subject to a fine of $200;

2.     Second-time offense violators found in public, including individuals found driving on public roads, outside of the curfew hours will be subject to a fine of $500;

3.     Third-time or more offense violators found in public, including individuals found driving on public roads, outside of the curfew hours will be subject to a fine of $750 and/or the impound of his/her vehicle by the Department of Public Safety;

4.     Each passenger in a vehicle found driving on a public road outside of the curfew hours will be subject to the following fines:

·      $100 for a first-time offense;

·      $200 for a second-time offense;

·      and $300 for a third-time or more offense.

We continue to urge individuals to practice good hygiene, exercise social distancing at all times when not at home, and to wear face masks in public, especially when feeling ill. Additionally, we encourage individuals and businesses to seek guidance regarding the implemented social distancing requirements from CHCC and/or the COVID-19 Task Force. Furthermore, we encourage members of the community to report any non-compliance of these Emergency Directives to CHCC and/or the COVID-19 Task Force.

These amendments will become effective on August 6, 2020.



Chief Executive Officer

Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation



Special Assistant for Homeland Security & Emergency Management

CNMI Homeland Security & Emergency Management

Concurred by:




CNMI Office of the Governor

Office of the Governor Response to Dismissal of Lawsuit Filed Against the House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee

Yesterday, the Superior Court held that the Office of the Governor could not proceed with its case against the House Judiciary and Government Operations Committee. Although the Administration respects the decision of the Judge, we believe the decision is erroneous by ignoring and misinterpreting law and precedent. For example, in its rush to follow federal precedent, it skipped right over the plain text of the Commonwealth Constitution. Then it overlooked some of the most important protections found even in the federal cases — such as the rule that the legislature may subpoena the executive only when the information it needs is not reasonably available anywhere else. The decision will be appealed. It will be for the Supreme Court to ultimately decide the merits of this civil case.

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