GHRA wants hotel employees to be considered frontline workers too

Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association (PNC file photo)

Now that Guam Public Health’s vaccination efforts are rolling along, the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association wants employees in its sector to be considered frontline employees.

GHRA president Mary Rhodes says the American Hotel and Lodging Association sent a letter out to governors across the nation, asking that employees in the industry to be considered frontline workers.

The association reasons that since many hotels have remained open and even used for quarantine purposes, their employees should be prioritized for vaccinations.

GHRA sent the letter to the governor’s office as well as Guam Public Health.

Rhodes points out that even after their employees eventually get vaccinated, regular testing will still be important.

For that reason, GHRA is still moving forward with its rapid testing program.

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She says Public Health received a letter authorizing GHRA to receive the BinaxNOW antigen testing kits.

GHRA has partnered with American Medical Center to provide on-site testing for employees at their place of work.

Rhodes says the response to the program among GHRA members has been mostly positive.

However, many business owners are taking a wait-and-see approach as GHRA works out legal and HR issues that might arise from the program.

So far, 20 businesses have expressed interest in the program.

GHRA has forecasted a need of 8,000 tests per month.

Rhodes said GHRA would receive its first 250 test kits today.

Those tests will be set aside for the first business to receive test kits under the program.

“We hope that employers understand the value of rapid testing for their employees regardless if people get their inoculation with that vaccine. Because we have to test regularly to make sure that asymptomatic employees are not entering into the workplace and thus affecting other employees and also your guests … your customers,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes says GHRA expects employee testing to begin sometime this week.