Governor looking at various alternatives for COVID relief

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC file photo)

Amidst talk of a $500 debit card program for residents, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero says she’d prefer to put money directly in the hands of small businesses. But for now, at least, all options are on the table.

GovGuam has been mulling the possibility of emulating a program that was recently implemented in Hawaii.

Under the program, unemployed residents get a $500 debit card that they can use exclusively in restaurants.

The program is paid for by CARES Act funds and is meant to bolster the state’s ailing restaurant industry.

Senator Amanda Shelton says that if a similar program is implemented on Guam, it shouldn’t limit spending to restaurants.

Shelton says that many other industries have also been hit hard by the pandemic and the families on Guam know what they need to spend their money on.

For her part, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero told K57’s Patti Arroyo this week that although GovGuam is looking at the debit card program, Adelup is also considering other alternatives.

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“We’re looking at that. There are some other alternatives that I would prefer to do, that would put the money in the hands of the small businesses….GEDA will be discussing that with GHRA,” the governor said.

PNC News reached out to both GEDA and GHRA for comments.

GEDA chairperson David John responded by saying the authority is working on a second grant program for local businesses and details will be provided soon.

GHRA has not responded yet.

The program in Hawaii cost about $75 million in federal funding.