Governor signs order implementing COVID enforcement rules; extends public health emergency

(PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero today signed Executive Order No. 2020-38 relative to the implementation of COVID-19 public health enforcement rules and the extension of the public health emergency. Executive Order No. 2020-38 orders the following:

  • EXTENSION OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY. Effective at 12:01 AM on October 30, 2020, the public health emergency first declared in Executive Order No. 2020-03, extended in Executive Order Nos. 2020-09, 2020-11, 2020-16, 2020-22, 2020-24, 2020-29, and 2020-35, and currently set to expire on October 30, 2020, is extended for an additional 30 day period. The public health emergency is now set to expire on November 29, 2020.
  • SUSPENDING RULE-MAKING PROCEDURES. Pursuant to governor’s authority under Title 10 Chapter 19 Section 19403(a)(l), upon the governor’s determination that strict compliance with the rule-making procedures of the Administrative Adjudication Law codified in Title 5 Article 3 of the Guam Code Annotated would hinder or delay necessary action by DPHSS to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency first declared in Executive Order No. 2020-03 and increase the threat to the health of our community – such procedures are suspended for the limited purpose and in the interest of the expedient adoption and implementation of the COVID-19 Public Health Enforcement Regulations developed by the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS). The COVID-19 Public Health Enforcement Regulations shall continue for the duration of the public health emergency declared in Executive Order No. 2020-03 or as extended by future Executive Orders.
  • TWENTY FOUR (24) HOUR USE OF OFFICIAL VEHICLES BY DPHSS. Pursuant To Section 1103(a), Chapter 1, Title 4 of Guam Code Annotated, the DPHSS is authorized to designate vehicles within its fleet as available for use on a twenty-four (24) hour basis. Once designated, such vehicles may be driven by authorized employees from the worksite to their homes and utilized to respond on an urgent basis when necessary to carry out DPHSS duties and obligations in support of its efforts to address the current public health emergency.

The Executive Order suspends some rule-making procedures to expedite the use of Enforcement Regulations developed by Public Health. 

Although the Executive Order doesn’t explicitly describe these Public Health Enforcement Regulations, it does state that GPD has counseled or removed 3,380 individuals for violating social gathering and social distancing guidance issued by Public Health. 

It also states that the Emergency Health Powers Act expressly gives Public Health and other agencies the ability to enforce the Act through the use of fines and penalties.

The full text of the Executive Order can be found here