Jeff Pleadwell, the owner of Jeff’s Pirates Cove, says the lockdown’s effects on Guam are way worse than COVID will ever be.
Pleadwell, whose restaurant was recently cited by Public Health because of congregating around the beach area, says the chokehold GovGuam has on people is increasing depression and anxiety, on top of lost livelihoods.
While he doesn’t feel like he was targetted in the incident with Public Health, he is vocal about the government’s general intentions saying the lockdown is only to line the pockets of GovGuam with federal dollars.
“Because it’s unnecessary [the lockdown]. This is like a virus, a flu that would pass in this community unnoticed but because of the publicity, what happened in other places, it came from China,” said Pleadwell.
He added: “It’s all a simple flu that people will get over. And yet, people are so scared of it, they’re causing families to be locked up and causing people to have disagreements. They’re dividing people…it’s really a very sad scene.”
He says the island’s continued shutdown, will mean the demise of other businesses that are barely hanging on.
“Operating a business on Guam is tough. We’ve got the worst utilities, over employment throughout the government, very poor services, the roads are terrible, medicine is a joke, all these things, and yet we have to pay for all that when we pay our taxes.”
Pleadwell himself has had to lay off staff to stay afloat.
“I feel the families who are putting up with staying home and not having their kids go to school are suffering just as much. And the businesses, yes, we’re suffering materially, and we employ the people. We’re meant to perform,” Pleadwell said.
He added: “It’s just too much, there are too many restrictions and eating a cheeseburger on the beach, we have to be worried about that. Having over 2 people together is, not okay? Like, how are we ever going to get over this thing?”
When asked what his suggestions are for dealing with the virus, Pleadwell says he wants to see more fact-based decision making that works for the majority of people on the Island.
“Look, these people that died on Guam they died from extenuating circumstances. None, absolutely none died of Corona [directly]. Yet they’re thrown in the Corona scare,” said Pleadwell.
“People sit at home, they watch the news, they can make their own decisions but they have to decide if this pandemic is worth their livelihoods, their lives and all the depression and the suicides, everything.”
Pleadwell is part of a “people’s protest” Thursday at Chamorro Village starting at 4:30 pm that will speak out against the current lockdown.
Protesters will be socially distanced and wearing masks; it gets started at the Chief Kepuha statue.
Pleadwell says they’re hoping for close to 1,000 people so that, with arms stretched out, they could reach Adelup.