Pandemic rules eased

TOUCH-FREE: Guam Premier Outlets has installed automated and touch-free hand sanitizers as seen Wednesday in Tamuning. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero extended Guam's Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1 in an executive order she signed Thursday.

The governor did lift some of the restrictions that have been in effect for four weeks.

She also shifted from her stay-at-home order to a "safer-at-home" advisory in her latest executive order.

The following are some of the eased restrictions stated in her executive order, which took effect at noon on Thursday:

• Nonessential businesses

Businesses such as hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors can reopen at no more than 25% of their capacity on condition mask wearing and 6-foot distancing are enforced. Businesses must keep a log of customers.

• Outdoor dining

Eating and drinking establishments can reopen but only for dining outdoors. No more than six diners per table are allowed and diners must be from the same household. Mask and distancing rules apply. Businesses must keep a log of customers.

• Outdoor recreation

Golf, tennis, scuba diving and other individual water activities are among outdoor activities that are now allowed to resume.

• Government offices

Local and federal government offices are allowed at no more than 25% occupancy, subject to mask wearing and social distancing.

The governor said the lifting of some restrictions was based on health and mobility data.

The lifting of restrictions is based on the declining rate of new positive positive cases on a daily basis, the governor stated. It also follows a request from the business community.

The governor made this announcement during Thursday's COVID-19 update where she was joined by the lieutenant governor and representatives from the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Leon Guerrero said the “positivity rate is gradually on the decline."

The seven-day rolling average for Guam is now 32 positive cases daily and a test positivity rate of 9%.

Leon Guerrero also noted that all incoming travelers will continue to be quarantined. However, on the sixth day, they will be tested and if tests are negative will be allowed to complete their quarantine at home. This cuts the 14-day quarantine rule by about half.

“This pandemic has been our lives for the better part of this year, and I know many of you are experiencing quarantine fatigue," the governor stated, but she reiterated the need to continue observing the basics of no congregating, wearing masks, and washing and sanitizing hands regularly.

"We are opening businesses back up," the governor stated. "The safe way is to gradually open (businesses) and see how people behave and how people react."

Small businesses advocate 'PCOR1.5'

Representatives of the local business community have asked Leon Guerrero to consider allowing retailers and dine-in restaurants to reopen with 25% occupancy limit during "PCOR1.5."

The governor on Thursday reiterated that changes to the pandemic condition of readiness on current restrictions hinge on hospitalization data, among other things.

The business representatives to the governor's COVID-19 economic recovery group provided recommendations to a strategy to open up the economy.

They sought the reopening of shopping centers, beauty salons, auto sales, real estate, spas, golf courses and others, with strict compliance with health and safety guidelines, during Pandemic Condition of Readiness "1.5."

Adelup, last week, coined the term "PCOR1.5," which maintains a PCOR1 status but with some restrictions eased.

Business representatives seek reopening of nonessential businesses with 25% occupancy limit during PCOR1.5 and 50% occupancy limit during PCOR2, with strict compliance with the required masks, temperature checks, social distancing and other guidelines.

Their suggestions included allowing outdoor dining with social distancing.

They asked that individual outdoor sports such as golf, tennis and hotel pools be allowed to open, with social distancing and only up to four people per group.

For spas, they recommended appointment-only service on separate rooms and with 25% occupancy.

These suggestions represent input from members of the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Guam Women's Chamber of Commerce. They are represented on the governor's economic recovery group.

These groups represent hundreds of businesses employing tens of thousands of people who have now been laid off or furloughed, or are getting work hour cuts for an indefinite period of time.

"We hope and pray she (the governor) considers it," Guam Premier Outlets General Manager Monte Mesa said.

Many tenants at GPO in Tamuning, Micronesia Mall in Dededo, Compadres Mall in Dededo and Tumon Sands Plaza have been closed for weeks, except for some of their restaurant-tenants that offer curbside service.

Press Secretary Krystal Paco-San Agustin said while GovGuam continues to be in the COVID-response phase, it continues to plan for the eventual COVID-recovery phase.

"As with all planning, this requires deliberations about plan specifics with subject matter experts. Once there is a final decision made, that information will be announced,' Paco-San Agustin said. "To avoid confusion, I hope that we continue to focus on staying home, practicing social distancing, washing your hands, and staying safe."

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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