Governor Lou Leon Guerrero on Sunday afternoon announced that effective immediately, the Public Health Emergency has been extended until May 5 as GovGuam continues its efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus on island.
The Public Health Emergency was previously set to end on April 13.
The Governor’s latest Executive Order 2020-09 extends all of the current orders closing all non-essential businesses, schools as well as extending the existing social distancing mandates until May 5th.
Executive Order 2020-09 also requires businesses that provide both essential and non-essential services “to limit” their activities to only those deemed essential, which is generally considered to be food and medicine.
All essential businesses and GovGuam agencies are ordered to require their employees and patrons to wear face masks.
The Executive Order also prohibits all public and private gatherings and prohibits consumption of alcohol in any public premises.
Individuals and businesses who refuse to comply are subject to fines. Businesses could face the termination of their business licenses.
Legislative Approval Needed to Extend Curfew and Impose Travel Restrictions
The Governor said she intended to announce tough new curfew and travel restrictions today, but the Guam Attorney General’s Office advised her that she will need Legislative authorization.
“My consultations with the Attorney General of Guam make clear that this new threat requires additional enforcement powers that can only be granted by the Legislature,” said the Governor.
She said she is sending a letter to Speaker Tina Muna Barnes to “immediately author and pass legislation” that will grant her “the power” to limit movement to that which is needed for the support of essential businesses, the maintenance of life, and emergent medical needs.
Speaker Tina Muna Barnes told PNC News that she will be meeting with fellow lawmakers on Monday to craft a bill in line with the Governor’s request. She expects an Emergency Session will be called sometime this week and it will probably have to be held remotely in keeping with the current social distancing restrictions.
Hazard Pay Authorized for GovGuam Employees in Essential Roles
The Governor also issued a second Executive Order, 2020-08. It creates a COVID-19 Response Differential Pay Policy.
It authorizes Government of Guam employees who are performing essential services to receive up to 25% of their wages depending on risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
The increased pay for essential GovGuam workers takes effect today, Sunday April 5th.
The Governor explained she does not have the authority to back date the pay differential to the start of the crisis. That too will require Legislative approval, she said.
“There are no words to express my gratitude and appreciation for those who risks themselves to keep others safe,” said the Governor. “While no amount of pay would be sufficient in times like this, what we can give is certainly well earned.”
Friday was a GovGuam payday and the Governor previously said that all GovGuam employees, both essential and non-essential, would receive their paychecks.
The Governor said that there no plans at this time to reduce the pay of non-essential GovGuam employees.