Traffic has already increased on Guam with the closure of the island’s detested roadblocks. Where are all those vehicles going?
When people are desperate to feed their families, there is little they will not do to raise cash.
Since yard sales are not an option — with the likelihood they would draw crowds, and no stimulus money or unemployment payments have yet to arrive in any of the insular areas — individuals are turning to other options.
An underground economy is developing in Guam, according to anecdotal evidence. That, of course, means less cash in Government of Guam coffers.
And less entrepreneurial individuals are turning to crime — in particular, petty theft and more violent attempts are occurring in Guam and Saipan. Our smaller businesses and their physical locations are the most vulnerable to crime, as well as to a lack of income.
Businesses are poised to re-open; plans in place and staff at the ready to return to work.
The sooner all businesses are allowed to open, the better.
The cliff’s edge
The longer businesses are kept in limbo, the deeper the hole into which they and their employees are falling.
This includes our tourism industry. Give us a moment is a touching video campaign by the Guam Visitors Bureau. But we also need an equally impressive campaign to remind visitors why Guam is so attractive — such as other destinations are sending out. We will need a campaign that shows a clear road to tourism recovery, not vague promises. Waiting until July for the island to welcome back tourists is going to reduce visitor arrivals to mere thousands.
The alternative to opening completely is watching more businesses go over the cliff and close and unemployment figures rise higher than the estimated 38,000 workers in Guam already affected.
Australia, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand are working to re-open essential air routes, and the islands should do the same. mbj