Governor denies vaccination exemption for health, fitness, and wellness businesses

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Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has denied a petition by health, fitness, and wellness businesses for an exemption from the full vaccination requirement for their employees and patrons.

In a letter to the owners of Synergy Studio, the governor said the requirement for individuals to be vaccinated before entering fitness and related facilities was put in place to ensure added measures of protection in settings where mask-wearing is compromised.

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“While I recognize and support the benefits of exercise to address diseases such as obesity, substantive improvements to complex health issues are achieved through continuous physical activity and proper nutrition over a long period. As Guam’s third leading cause of death since 2020, the COVID-19 virus poses an immediate threat to the health of our community, which the vaccine swiftly helps us address,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor acknowledged that the services provided by these health, fitness, and wellness companies have a role in improving the lives of our people. However, she said the state of our island depends greatly on sustaining the measures we have in place that prioritize the health of everyone who requires thoughtful care and consideration.

“Sadly, we have faced the somber reality that most of those hospitalized with COVID-19 and the vast majority of those we have lost to this virus are unvaccinated individuals. This tells us that we must continue to prioritize vaccination for the protection of our entire community. Therefore, although I believe wholeheartedly in the power and promise of your services, we cannot approve the exemption requested at this time,” Leon Guerrero said.

The governor did thank the health and fitness companies for following the health and safety measures in place for their protection and their patrons.

“I extend my appreciation for your advocacy, the lengths each of your organizations has gone to keep our people healthy and well during this challenging time, and your continued efforts to meet our shared challenges with tenacity and true sportsmanship,” the governor said.

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