Business owners react to tightened COVID-19 restrictions

Thomas Peinhopf feels that it is unfair that their businesses have been singled out.

The new executive order signed by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero prohibits all public gatherings and on-site consumption of food and beverages in restaurants and bars.

Even before the current order was signed, the governor issued an earlier directive ordering the temporary closure of bars and taverns.

Thomas Peinhopf and Regina Timmermann-Levas, the owners of the Old Traditions Bar, feel that it is unfair that their businesses have been singled out.

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Timmermann-Levas said: “Business before was good and right now, with the second shutdown … this is playing with our existence, with our livelihood. We have staff that rely on their income from the bars. We have not gotten any help. I called (the Help Hotline) and asked if we’re going to get any financial help and they said talk to your landlord. Well yes, the landlord can give me reduction in rent but he did not make the decision to shut me down. This was down high up, without any meetings, without any talk, it would’ve been nice to be included in this decision.”

Thomas Peinhopf, also the owner of Livehouse and Shady Lady bars, said: “Please know that we do care for the medical aspect of things but I believe that we have followed all of the mandates. We have been given A’s and the green light from Public Health once they came to inspect our establishments. So I want to know why us and I’m still waiting for that answer as a matter of fact.”

Dylan Valdez, another local business owner and the owner of Comicbook Guam, talked about the effects of these closures on the small business community.

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“Well, with bars and taverns, if there are statistics that do say that most of the positive cases come from them then they definitely should close, but if there isn’t then I don’t see why they should close. But for us, I’ve been fortunate enough that we stayed open, you know, until now, except for the lockdown but I am fortunate,” Valdez said.

During her news conference last week, the governor said that many of the recent cases of COVID-19 have been linked to people going to restaurants and bars.

The interviews were done before the EO took effect on Sunday.