Over the last few weeks, Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes, Senator Jose “Pedo” Terlaje, and Senator Clynton E. Ridgell have been engaging stakeholders on their proposed Guam Healthy Entry and Departure Testing Program (GHEDTP).
Senators have already met with GVB Interim President, Carl T.C. Gutierrez, as well as industry stakeholders to discuss the feasibility of this program.
Guam, whose main industry is tourism, has taken a drastic hit from the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Guam Department of Labor, an estimated 38,000 local residents will either lose their jobs, or have their hours cut due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has on the tourism industry.
Speaker Muña Barnes has written to the Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Consul Generals of Japan, Korea, Philippines, Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia to seek their input and partnership on the proposed draft legislation creating the GHEDTP.
The GHEDTP would require that all passengers be tested for COVID-19
at their points of origin, prior to departure, and only be allowed to board the aircraft with a negative COVID-19 test result. This negative result would also serve as a waiver from quarantine.
Currently, even if Guam were to waive mandatory quarantine protocols for tourists from safe-zones, our source markets would still require their incoming residents to be quarantined in their nations of origin. By creating the GHEDTP, it is the goal of Senators to create a travel bubble that would allow residents of participating nations to be exempt from quarantine requirements.
The Speaker will be meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps to
discuss this matter further in the coming days.
“Everyday we spend sitting around, we lose out on much needed revenues from our economy. Our residents are ready to go back to work. Let’s bring everyone to the table and plan a path forward,” Speaker Muña Barnes said in a news release.
Sen. Pedo Terlaje added: “As the Chairman for the committee on border safety, the safety of our residents is my foremost concern. Providing a safe destination for visitors and our residents will go a long way to getting our economy back on track.”