As the island’s restaurant industry continues to struggle, the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association is doing what it can to help pass the new federal coronavirus bill which could see $3 billion for Guam.
The island’s restaurant industry has already reported a 90% drop in sales, according to GHRA president Mary Rhodes.
Although many have adapted by offering drive-thru and curbside delivery, Rhodes says this will not be enough to keep them afloat for much longer.
A number of restaurants have already closed and those that are still open predict a dire future if they don’t get economic relief soon.
That’s where the HEROES Act comes in.
“With the National Restaurant Association, they’ve identified a program where it’s similar to PPP, where you’ll be able to use those federal dollars to cover much more than PPP actually allows,” Rhodes said.
GHRA is participating in a lobbying effort launched by the National Restaurant Association.
The campaign allows citizens across the country to send an email in support of the HEROES Act to their representatives in Congress.
You don’t need to be a GHRA member to participate, so any concerned resident can let their voice be heard.
“We would like to see the HEROES Act passed because six months have gone by and PPP, EIDL and PUA are all going to be exhausted,” Rhodes said.
As helpful as the HEROES Act would be, much depends on the actions of Congress.
With a tense and unpredictable environment in Washington offering no guarantees, GHRA continues to do what it can locally to help the industry recover.
“It’s a multi-pronged approach. So what we’ve been doing here locally is really the low-hanging fruit. How do we get to operate? How do we get to provide our services and how do we change with the times so that outdoor dining or maybe curbside service, is part of our norm? But the new norm also has to include limited indoor seating. So that’s one thing,” Rhodes said.
She added: “The other thing is working with the government agencies so that we can work at updating rules and regs so that we can really make changes to make it easier for businesses to operate. And then the third piece is, ‘What do you do once there’s funding available?’ We need to go after that funding and make sure Guam is included.”
The House Democrats have delayed voting on the HEROES Act by one day as bipartisan negotiations on the bill continue.