Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has extended the PCOR 1 status on Guam. However, she’s implementing a “phased-in” reopening of businesses and activities.
The island is no-longer under a “stay-at-home” order, instead a “safer-at-home” advisory has been issued.
We’re heading into a “structured reopening,” as stated by Lt. Governor Joshua Tenorio during Adelup’s Thursday afternoon news conference.
The lockdown is due to expire at noon tomorrow, Friday, September 25. At that time, these restrictions will be lifted or altered:
- Retail stores and other businesses such as hair and nail salons, tattoo shops, and pet grooming can operate at 25% capacity, maintaining 6ft distancing
- All mall common-areas will remain closed despite store reopening
- In-dining will still be prohibited however, outdoor dining will be allowed for those living in the same household, maintaining 6ft distancing between tables
- Solitary and non-contact sports will be allowed to resume (firing ranges, golf, scuba diving, tennis); no organized sports allowed.
- General office work will be permitted to resume, however teleworking is still encouraged
- Any face-to-face meetings or consultations are by appointment only and there will be no waiting rooms open (preventing congregation)
- Services at funeral homes remain at no more than 10 occupancy and limited to immediate family and single household units
“All must maintain a customer listing to assist with Public Health contact tracing efforts. All permitted businesses and activities must adhere to DPHSS guidance,” said the Governor.
Beaches and parks remain closed for anything beyond individual exercise.
Leon Guerrero said GovGuam will start coming back to work but teleworking is being encouraged. Face-to-face business will be by appointment only for any government agency.
The contentious issue of quarantining will also be changing. Starting at 12 pm Saturday, September 26 all incoming travelers will still have to quarantine in the GovGuam hotel facility. However, a passenger will be allowed to take a COVID test on Day 6 of their quarantine. When/if that comes back negative, they can leave the facility and finish their quarantining period (14 days total) at home.
As for the rationale behind easing restrictions, the Governor said they’re seeing declining numbers in some of the key health markers for Adelup.
“Truthfully, our case positivity rate is gradually on the decline. COVID hospitalization census is gradually decreasing. We know this extended isolation period has affected everyone but there are additional needs that must be accommodated.”
New cases and hospitalizations have been on the decline of late. However, the test positivity rate is still higher than the DPHSS target, averaging 9-11%. Public Health’s goal is to be under 3%.
The Governor, flanked by the Lt. Governor, says she’s confident her “slow and cautious” approach to the lockdown lift is the right way to go. She’s also sure that Guam has the testing, contact tracing and hospital capacity to support the reopening.
GovGuam is starting with low-risk businesses and activities and phasing into more “high-risk” ones.
“I’m looking at a month from now hopefully that we can be more in PCOR 2 and that we’re hopefully increasing the opening capacity of these restaurants [and other businesses]. Again, that is guided by the data that we are looking at and the science that we are looking at,” said the Governor.
As for who determines the “risk factor” of a business, Leon Guerrero said she has a group of economic advisors, along with the Physicians Advisory Group and Public Health, who weigh the available data and make the determination.
This so-called phased-in reopening approach still leaves many businesses in the lurch, the most vocal of whom have been bars, taverns and restaurant owners – all of whom are determined to be high-risk by Adelup.
At her press conference, the Governor did acknowledge that she’s been impressed with island restaurants keeping strict sanitization and safety standards in the face of COVID-19.
As for handling a resurgence of coronavirus, Leon Guerrero said she’s confident in the structures in place on Guam to support a gradual reopening: “We’ve got the tools in place to help us contain and decrease the number of new cases…and to help us prevent people from being exposed…and infected…therefore preventing them from going to the hospital.”
The Governor said they’re looking at what can safely reopen in the next “phase.”
“The gyms is something that we’re looking at, possibly dining-in at restaurants and we’re looking at possibly child care centers.”
Leon Guerrero said more than likely, the next steps of lifting restriction would be more in line with increasing capacity for already reopened businesses like going from 25% to 50% and up to 75% in retail stores etc.