Senator James Moylan has asked the administration to disclose its plan and timelines relative to expanding the opening of the island for economic growth and opportunities.
In a letter to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, Moylan said that while he understands that business activity was never completely shut down through the pandemic, there were, and continue to be limitations.
“We are not here to challenge the reasons for these actions, rather we would like to obtain a better grasp of what happens next. Where do we go from here? When can business owners plan expansions of their operations, bring more of their employees back, or even invest without the fear that another setback could be on the horizon?” the senator asked.
Moylan said another wave of the virus is unpredictable, and while most business entities have established safety precautions within their operations to protect both their customers and their staff, there is always the inevitable.
However, Moylan said this should not prevent the government from having a plan, along with timelines on under what premises the island will be able to increase occupancy numbers inside ballrooms, relax some of the rules for commerce, and advise tourism source markets that Guam is safe for visitors.
“We appreciate the latest Executive Order which will allow for those vaccinated with AstraZeneca to enter the island and be exempted from quarantine in a government facility. Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB), as well as the tourism industry in Guam must be excited about this process. Which is why a timeline is needed so that businesses can revolve their operations around it and prepare,” Moylan said.
He added: “No one expects full planeloads to be heading from Korea to Guam in the next few weeks, but with actual timelines, business entities can prepare and establish their plans of action so that when we finally get to full planeloads, the island will be better equipped to serve our guests adequately. Plus, without a plan, we are essentially displaying inconsistencies with our source markets, and will lose those shares to other jurisdictions.”
Moylan said another important matter is the timeline of when the island will be lifted from the State of a Public Health Emergency.
“What criteria has your administration established to be the impetus for this to take place. It is important that you share this with the legislature, and please provide us with any recommendations or even legislation that you feel needs to be legislated to continue to establish certain public health policies even after the end of the ‘lockdown.’ This is a critical component of this process, and we hope it is part of your administration’s plan of action,” the senator said.
For Moylan, the issue at hand is more than about “opening” up the island for business activity, rather it’s about a larger and circular issue that impacts so many other aspects.
“The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) ends in less than 3 months. The cost of living is continuing to rise, and we will soon go from a pandemic resulting from a virus to another pandemic where island residents will face challenges addressing daily needs. This issue is also about mental health, public safety, and the fiscal survival of our island,” Moylan said.
He added: “We look forward to hearing about your administration’s plans to open the island for economic growth and opportunities. This should hopefully be inclusive of timelines of when the Public Health Declaration may be lifted along with what the criteria shall be for this plan to be tabled. Planning is vital for the survival of any business or government, and we look forward to seeing your administration’s plans.”