Governor: “What we’re doing is starting to work”

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“What we’re doing is starting to work,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero in her daily morning post on her FaceBook page. “But we won’t start seeing the full effect of it till like 3 or 4 weeks from now,” she said.

The Governor reviewed the number of cases pointing out said that 27 island residents have now recovered from COVID-19, out of the 113 confirmed cases.

“We remain at 4 fatalities, and let’s keep it that way,” she said.

The Governor delivered her update on the coronavirus outbreak wearing her face mask covering her mouth and nose. Previously she wore it below her chin when she delivered her remarks.

The Governor also reviewed some of the federal coronavirus aid programs that she said, “we’re looking to happen in the next couple of weeks.”

In particular she cited the Pandemic Unemployment Benefit program.

“It would get those that are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus a weekly subsistence of financial help,” said the Governor. But the amount has not yet been determined.

The amount has not yet been finalized, said the Governor. “We are negotiating the amount.”

The amount is dependent upon the number of workers who have been laid off.

The Governor encouraged all island employers to work with the Guam Department of Labor and “give them the number and the names of the employees that have been unemployed as a result of the COVID virus.”

Another program she cited is for small businesses, the Pay Check program. She said it’s a loan that small businesses can get from a local bank.

“You can get it immediately,” said the Governor. Several island financial institutions are already accepting applications, she said.

The loans provide funds to enable businesses to continue their operations, said the Governor, including providing money for payroll.

A third relief program is what she called the tax rebate program which provides individuals who filed tax returns in 2017 or 2018 with a one time payment of up to $1,200 if they have an income of $75,000 of below. Couples filing jointly with an income of  less than $150,000 will get a rebate of $2,400. In addition, every child will get $500 each.

The program will be run by the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation. “We have all the processes ready,” said the Governor, “we’re just waiting for the IRS to approve our implementation plan. And once that’s approved we’ll be able to start the program.”

The governor pointed out that local assistance programs remain in effect, including the food stamp program known as SNAP.

She recommended that anyone in need of immediate assistance dial 311 to take advantage of the already existing local assistance programs.