Liberation commemorations will have 100-person limits

Celebrations related to Liberation Day have been cut back due to COVID-19. (PNC file photo)

The island has started to open up more and more as it closes in on the governor’s goal to vaccinate 80% of the population against COVID-19 by Liberation Day.

So what will Liberation Day itself actually look like?

Guam Mayors Council president Jesse Alig told Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo that even though Guam has made great strides in fighting COVID, the plan for Liberation Day is to play it safe…at least for one more year.

He said that celebrations will be larger than last year although the island’s mayors will aim to keep them within a 100-person limit for easier control.

Also, he said that mayors are discouraging the serving of food during events.

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“Even if the PCOR level does change as the months go on, I think the mayors are understanding about how we really have to be mindful that we still are in a pandemic. We’re hoping to get out of it, but we still have to be safe. So definitely, we are commemorating Liberation with the memorial ceremonies that all the village mayors typically host. And of course the invitation to the manamko, we’re leaving that up to the mayors and for them to decide what is the best course of action when it comes to inviting other survivors, perhaps,” Alig said.

He added that just as with everything else, the pandemic has caused him to reconsider how to celebrate Liberation Day.

He said that recent carnivals have had lower attendance than before.

And even attempts to increase attendance with gambling haven’t panned out as expected.

He said that given current trends, it may be time to rethink the focus of Liberation Day celebrations.

“With the generation now, I’m proud of our new generation. Because a lot of them are more …  they’re not into the whole carnival. Perhaps, and this is just my personal opinion, more of the younger generation will want to know about our history more and will want to learn from our manamko more. We see that because we have other activist groups and other cultural groups around our island today that are made up of younger generations. So perhaps that’s a new focus for us,” Alig said.

Alig said that there will be a fireworks display that’s managed by the Guam Visitors Bureau and PBS will be broadcasting various events.

He also said that Guam’s mayors are continuing to push their constituents to get vaccinated to help meet the governor’s vaccination goal.

And that would be another form of liberation to celebrate.

“We just harp on the governor’s words and get everyone out to vaccination clinics and testing sites, just to make sure that we continue to do that weekly. And you guys see the reports and how many people are vaccinated. And hopefully, by the 21st of July, we’ll reach that,” Alig said.