Governor announces immediate relief program; $300 checks to qualified residents

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The Governor on Tuesday said she stands by the actions taken by her legal team.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero on Tuesday afternoon announced a plan to provide immediate disaster relief to qualified individuals as soon as Friday.

Under the Prugråman Salåppe’ Ayudon I Taotao plan, checks will start going out to qualified residents as soon as Friday.

In addition, the governor said she was encouraged by the continued low number of positive cases of COVID-19 and she expects to allow a number of different businesses to re-open their doors by next Monday, under certain conditions.

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Executive Order 2020-12

“I know that many of our people need immediate relief. For that reason, Executive Order 2020-12 establishes Prugråman Salåppe’ Ayudon I Taotao — a direct disaster aid program that will be paid for with the coronavirus relief funds authorized under the CARES Act,” the governor said.

You have to apply to get a check and you can do so immediately by going to the Department of Public Health and Social Services website, downloading an application, and dropping off the completed application at the Castle Mall in Mangilao.

The application can be downloaded through the following link:

http://dphss.guam.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ApplicationforPublicBenefits.pdf .

Applications will be accepted through next week Friday, May 15th, but the first checks will start going out this Friday, May 8th, said the governor.

Eligibility for the relief funds will be determined by existing public health data. She estimated that as many as 55,000 people will qualify for a check of $300.

“Under this program, individuals applying, depending on their household size, making equal to or below 165% of the federal poverty level, are 18 years or older, and have been residents of Guam for at least 6 months, will be paid $300 per eligible person not to exceed $1,200 per household,” the governor said.

The Governor also issued another order establishing a Pandemic Recovery Office to act as a single repository of information related to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

Executive Order 2020-13

Under Executive Order 2020-13 all line agencies will compile responses provided relative to this disaster since the declaration of the public health emergency on March 14 and submit them to the Attorney General’s Office.

“This will allow every citizen the opportunity to regularly review documents secured under FOIA and our responses to them,” said the Governor.

In addition she said her administration will fully comply with any audit requirements given to us by the Office of Public Accountability.

And she said she has ordered the procurement of an independent third-party reviewer for federal funds.

“This means that in addition to local audits conducted by the OPA and audits conducted by the federal government, we will also submit ourselves to concurrent review by an independent third-party,” said the Governor.

Beyond the checks that will start to be mailed out Friday, the governor also announced the likelihood of allowing retail stores and some other businesses to at least partially re-open by next Monday, May 11.

“Lift restrictions for shopping centers. They can go to the shopping centers. They can go to the shopping center but they cannot congregate in the food court. They can take out food in the food court,” the governor said.

She added: “The bottom line is that the basic guide for our people’s behavior is that we need to make sure that social distancing is adhered to and masks are used.”

Restaurants would be required to take reservations, hair and nail salons by appointment only.

Every business that wants to re-open will have to adhere to the guidelines now being developed by public health.

“The expectation is not to be submitting these guidelines by business but by industry. And once released by public health, then we will know which industries will be authorized and therefore need to submit these guidelines,” the governor said.

Expect those guidelines by the end of the week.

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