GHRA: Most hotel employees are on paid leave

Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association President Mary Rhodes (PNC file photo)

Because of the economic impact of COVID-19, thousands of workers on island have been laid off or are partially employed, according to the Guam Department of Labor.

But Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association President Mary Rhodes told K57’s Patti Arroyo on Tuesday that most hotel industry employees are on paid leave.

“A lot of them haven’t been laid off. A lot of the employees have been taking their personal or vacation leave. One hotel has been paying them during this COVID situation, so we haven’t had a lot of furloughs or layoffs as of yet. A lot of those employees are taking vacation at this time,” Rhodes said.

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Rhodes says that employers can explore options to provide assistance once an employee’s personal leave runs out, whether it’s through federal programs or having the employee take more leave and be reimbursed through tax credits.

With quarantine for the thousands of sailors from the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt set to end next week, Rhodes says that she is working to decontaminate the hotels used to house them by outsourcing sanitation services. She says that every room used will be treated as if its occupant tested positive.

“Honestly, every hotel is looking to outsource this. I have received quotes from various entities on Guam. Decontamination will require a different process and I have that information and we’re currently submitting that. We’re working with individuals with specialties and that is what is being given to the government – to the Department of Defense – to ensure that we are following the strict protocols in the decontamination process,” Rhodes said.

Because the information changes daily, Rhodes says there is no final number on how many sailors have vacated the hotels. She adds that during the process of housing the sailors, no hotel employee has or will be exposed to any Roosevelt personnel.