Are people flocking to boat cruises to avoid COVID restrictions?

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According to a Public Health memo dated October 2nd, recreational boating by a single household and boat charters are allowed as long as six feet of distance can be maintained by everyone on board.

GovGuam has been cracking down on large gatherings because of the pandemic. But there are claims that gatherings at sea have been slipping under the radar.

In an environment where private gatherings are limited to five people and businesses must limit the number of customers, PNC News received a tip that groups of 40 to 50 people have gathered on boats leaving the Agat Marina for cruises.

PNC News called two charter boat services who said they can accommodate up to 10 people on a cruise. One said they could accommodate up to 20 people, if all 20 are part of the same household.

But is this really a violation of PCOR restrictions?

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According to a Public Health memo dated October 2nd, recreational boating by a single household and boat charters are allowed as long as six feet of distance can be maintained by everyone on board.

Outside of the requirement for social distancing, however, the wording of the memo gives no limit on the number of people on the boat.

The bigger question, of course, is what happens once the boat leaves port? How can anyone be sure a boat full of people will stay six feet apart from each other? Especially once alcohol is involved?

Public Health spokesperson Janela Carrera admits that enforcing such regulations, especially on the water, can be difficult.

“The tricky thing about charter boat operations is that once they’re on the charter..once they’re on the boat and they’re out to sea..it’s kind of hard to regulate that. We’re not out there..we can’t see what’s going on,” Carrera said.

Even with the challenges GovGuam faces when it comes to enforcement, Carrera says large boat gatherings, especially with claims of unusually large households, warrant more attention from Public Health.

“When a group of people comes and say my household size is 40, that’s definitely a cause for concern. I don’t know of a household that lives in one house where there are 40 people living in one house. That’s definitely a cause for concern. And if a charter company says, “I’m going to accept you..telling me..that you have 40 people living in one house”… I think that is definitely something that we should be looking into,” Carrera said.

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