Public Health guidance memo: What’s essential and what’s not


The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services has issued the following guidance which details which business are considered essential and can remain open and those that are not essential and must remain closed during the ongoing coronavirus health emergency.

1. Definitions:

a. “Congregation” or “Social Gathering” shall mean a meeting of more than one person where the individuals are not members of a single household unit.

b. “Immediate Family Unit” shall mean individuals within the same family household.

c. “Essential Businesses” shall mean: 

i. Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure;
ii. Eating and Drinking Establishments;
iii. Essential Retail Stores
iv. Food Establishments;
v. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
vi. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
vii. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
viii. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, bicycle repair and related facilities;            ix. Banks and related financial institutions (i.e., payroll, accounting, insurance,
check cashing, and money transfer operations);
x. Hardware stores;
xi. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC
technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services
that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential
operation of residences, essential activities, and essential businesses;
xii. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office
xiii. Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools,
colleges, and universities, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning
or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet
per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
xiv. Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
xv. Businesses that primarily supply products needed for people to work from
xvi. Businesses that primarily supply other essential businesses with the support
or supplies necessary to operate;
xvii. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to
xviii. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing
transportation services necessary for essential activities and other purposes
expressly authorized in Executive Order No. 2020-05;
xix. Home-based care for seniors or adults;
xx. Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
xxi. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary
to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;
xxii. Vehicle and moped rental businesses;
xxiii. Automobile and bicycle sales, provided that sales must be conducted
remotely or electronically. Automobiles may be delivered and leases can
be returned in person “by appointment only;”
xxiv. Distributors, wholesalers, and providers to essential business may continue
operations; and
xxv. Business operations of firearms or ammunition products and accessories.

d. “Eating and Drinking Establishments” means those businesses, such as restaurants
and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery, carry out, or

Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under Executive Order No. 2020-05 on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only.

Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not allow the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site on their premises.

e. “Essential Infrastructure” means those businesses which include, but are not limited

i. Public works construction;
ii. Construction of housing (in particular affordable housing or housing for
individuals experiencing homelessness);
iii. Airport operations;
iv. Water, wastewater, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highway
v. Public transportation;
vi. Solid waste collection and removal;
vii. Internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of
essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services,
business infrastructure, communications and web-based services); and
viii. Hotels and places of accommodation.

f. “Essential Retail Stores” means those retail stores that primarily sell essential
household consumer commodities that are necessary to maintain the essential daily
requirements for health, safety, and sanitation for residences, such as
pharmaceuticals, cleaning and sanitizing products, personal care products, and
other non-grocery products.

Essential items which may be sold at Essential Retail Stores include, but are not limited to: butane stoves, butane gas, propane gas tank refills, charcoal, rice cookers, microwaves, fans, air conditioners, bath towels, sheets/bedding, mattresses, candles, batteries, cooking pans and utensils, vacuum cleaners, coolers, and small appliances. Determination of commodities available for sale shall be restricted to the authorized operations as stated in the Business License issued by the Department of Revenue and Taxation.

g. “Food Establishments” means those businesses, such as grocery stores; certified
farmers’ markets; farm and produce stands; supermarkets; food banks; convenience
stores; and other establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of canned food,
dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, livestock and pet food, fresh meats, fish, and

h. “Healthcare Operations” means:

i. Hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology
companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare
services providers, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary
healthcare services.                                                                                                      ii. “Healthcare Operations” also includes veterinary care and all healthcare
services provided to animals.

i. “Healthcare Operations” does not include fitness centers, exercise gyms, and
similar facilities; daycare facilities; and therapeutic massage establishments
without physician’s order.

j. “Non-essential Retail Stores” means those retail stores that primarily sell nonessential items. Examples include, but are not limited to:
i. Clothing/Shoe stores;
ii. Furniture stores;
iii. Jewelry stores;
iv. Kiosks;
v. Novelty shops (theme-oriented type of stores);
vi. Sporting goods stores;
vii. Vape shops; and
viii. Video stores and rentals.
k. “Primarily” shall mean at least eighty percent (80%) of all operations.

2. Approved for Business Operations/Activities:

a. Essential businesses (as defined above);
b. Essential infrastructure (as defined above);
c. Essential Retails Stores (as defined aboce);
d. Funeral services (both religious and non-religious) restricted to immediate family
units or a single household, not to exceed ten people at any given moment;
e. Hotels will be allowed to continue limited operations to allow their guests to stay
in their facilities, but non-essential operations, such as bars, ballrooms, fitness
centers, and swimming pools are not permitted to operate;                                              f. Trash and recycling collection, processing, and disposal services;
g. Building cleaning and maintenance operations (i.e. janitorial services, landscaping
services, and pool maintenance);                                                                                  h. Security companies to maintain building access control and physical security
i. Armored cash carriers;
j. Funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries;
k. Animal shelters;
l. Vehicle safety inspection facilities; and
m. Defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government
or a contractor to the U.S. government.

Personnel shall be limited to those who are needed to provide essential services to maintain basic operations, which include security, payroll, and other similar activities for these business operations.

All businesses approved for operation should comply with the social distancing guidelines,
frequent cleaning of all surfaces, posting of signs, and permitting/encouraging teleworking
requirements of Executive Order No. 2020-04 to the maximum extent possible.

Retail operations and any other customer-facing services must comply with the guidelines
specified in DPHSS Guidance Memo 2020-02.

3. Not Approved for Operations – Subject to Closure and Prohibition from On-Site Operations

a. Non-essential government of Guam offices;
b. Non-essential retail stores;
c. Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and
universities and those staff not engaged in distance learning or performing essential
d. Child care center facilities;
e. Dive Shops;
f. Tourist attraction sites and venues;
g. Bars and taverns;
h. Gymnasiums and fitness centers;
i. Movie theaters;
j. Sporting events;
k. Public swimming pools;
l. Firing ranges;
m. Real estate services;
n. Therapeutic massage establishments;
o. Automobile detailing services (i.e., cleaning, tinting, washing, waxing);
p. Animal grooming and training facilities;
q. Travel agencies;
r. All Places of Worship; and
s. All government of Guam public parks and beaches, except for individual use for
purposes of exercise, both physical and mental, provided that individuals abide by
the social distancing requirements of six feet.

4. “Face mask” is defined as a material that covers the nose and mouth and can be secured to the head with ties or straps or wrapped around the lower face.

For further questions, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at 300-9579 from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.