Senator wants to give out face masks at road closure points

Senator Amanda Shelton (file photo)

Senator Amanda Shelton is calling for the distribution of face masks at road closures to further enhance public education efforts and increase awareness of the risks of COVID-19.

According to Shelton, the Governor is able to procure these and other supplies such as hand sanitizers under her public health emergency authority. With the major road closures, she also has a ready-made distribution network.

“Every time I pass through a road closure point, I am reminded to always wear my mask and practice social distancing. Why not use these conversations to also ask people if they or someone they know needs a mask, and if the answer is ‘yes’ give them one,” Shelton suggests.

Senator Shelton drafted a bill to procure the face masks, and in a letter to the Governor earlier this month, Shelton asked her to strongly consider her proposal to provide masks and sanitization products to families in need.

Now and particularly in light of the Bill 335-35 in this week’s emergency legislative session, Shelton says there is an even greater need that those who most need help protecting against the virus receive it.

“People should not have to choose between feeding their families and purchasing masks to protect their health,” says Shelton.

In addition to road closure points of distribution, Senator Shelton wants mayors to be empowered to give out masks to families in their villages who need them.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus but might not know it to keep from transmitting it to others.

The Governor’s Executive Order #2020-09 also requires that all essential businesses and government agencies require their employees and customers to wear masks.

In addition to distributing masks to island residents, Senator Shelton also urges the Governor to supply all essential workers who continue reporting to their agencies, and prisoners in custody at the Department of Corrections with face masks as well.

“Despite the immense risk our workers face, they continue to report to duty every day. The very least our government can do is supply these face masks to further protect our people.”

“DOC is an emergency just waiting to happen. We need to take every preventative measure to supply all personnel and the nearly 700 inmates in our custody with PPE. We should not risk a major outbreak of Coronavirus at DOC.”

Despite her disappointment in the legislature’s failure to pass COVID-19 protection measures requested by the Governor, Shelton is optimistic that Guam will continue to successfully manage a very fluid and deadly public health crisis.

“Despite ‘good’ daily testing numbers this week, it is imperative everyone understands that we are not in the clear when it comes to the health risks posed by the Coronavirus pandemic,” Shelton stated.