Governor’s stay-at-home order officially extended 1 week; some restrictions eased

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has officially extended her stay-at-home order by one week, now ending at noon Friday, September 25.

The lockdown was due to expire at 12 pm tomorrow, Friday, September 18.

Krystal Paco-San Agustin, the Governor’s Press Secretary, confirmed the extension with PNC News Thursday morning. Around 1:30 pm, the Governor issued the follow up Executive Order legally extending the lockdown one more week.

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There are two major changes and restriction updates that take effect at 12 pm tomorrow (Sept 18):

  1. Non-essential curbside retail pick-up can operate again, as it was allowed to for a short duration during the PCOR 1 declaration from August 16-August 21. Customers cannot physically walk into non-essential retail stores to pick-up their items but can grab them outside of the establishment from which they have already placed their orders.
  2. Restaurants and eating establishments can allow customers to physically walk-in to pick up their food orders; dine-in is still not permitted.

Paco-San Agustin said these restrictions are being eased to help residents through the lockdown.

“We’re modifying these restrictions because we understanding the fatigue that the community is experiencing as a result of the extended stay-at-home orders,” said Paco-San Agustin.

She references examples of how these two eased restrictions could help the Island community cope:

“We’re hearing of simple requests like being allowed to purchase inflatable pools and other items that would allow residents to deal with the stress of the lockdown. We’ve also heard from pregnant women needing to purchase maternity items or clothing for growing children. These are just a few of the reasons the Governor is allowing curbside retail pick up, as the Island continues to battle the virus,” said Paco-San Agustin.

The Governor’s Executive Order further reads: “Understanding the fatigue our community is experiencing as a result of the continuing Stay-at-Home Order, it is necessary to open specific businesses and services that will assist in making our lives more comfortable as we continue to isolate in our homes for an additional one-week period.”

Paco-San Agustin stressed that the modified restrictions don’t take effect until tomorrow, Friday, September 18 at 12 pm.

The new extension also allows the Guam Election Commission (GEC) to conduct In-Office Absentee Voting for the 2020 General Election by appointment, effective Saturday, September 19, 2020. Voters are being asked to call ahead to book their appointment.

The EO references a 9.3% average test positivity rate, still above the 3% and below target for the island. It also speaks of the island’s youngest COVID-related death thus far: a 10-year-old who died at Naval Hospital on Saturday night who had underlying health conditions.

This is now the fourth extension of the lockdown order, after Guam reported 47 new COVID-positive cases Wednesday, pushing the island past the 2,000 confirmed-case mark.

While hospitalizations are on the decline at GMH, the intensity of the cases is increasing. As of Thursday morning, there were 43 total patients for COVID-treatment, with 19 in the ICU and 10 on a ventilator.

In a previous interview with PNC News, Lillian Perez-Posadas, the GMH administrator, said, “these are really, really sick patients and so any moment, like Dr. Jolene Aguon said, they could be doing fine, next moment they can crash.”

The Governor wrote in her EO: “Our hospital facilities are still operating beyond capacity.”

“The single best tool we have against COVID-19 spread is the limitation of personal interactions between individuals, particularly those who do not reside in the same household, and a continued Stay-at-Home Order is tailored to accomplish this goal,” reads the order.

Guam’s stay-at-home order first came into effect at 12 pm Friday, August 21 (after PCOR 1 was officially declared on Friday, August 14, and took effect two days later).

The first lockdown was meant to end at 12 pm on August 28.

It was then extended until Friday, September 4, with some restrictions eased such as banks resuming face-to-face operations, construction getting back to work outside the fence and public parks/beaches reopening for individual exercise.

On Friday, September 4, as the Governor announced the island’s 14th COVID-related death, she also extended her Executive Order until Friday, September 11 at 12 pm (second extension).

Which then became a third extension through tomorrow, Friday, September 18. And now, the fourth until Friday, September 25.

The Governor’s newest Executive Order:

20.0917 LAT to Speaker re Executive Order No. 2020-32 – Relative to Continuing the Stay-at-Home Order with Additional Services