US Marine Corps to see cuts
            The US Marine Corps will see personnel cuts and re-allocations of manpower – possibly to other military branches – as part of a force-wide reorganization.

            Armor Marines, senior armor staff, battle tank staff and officers will be affected, as well as military police officers, ordnance vehicle maintenance personnel and criminal investigation officers. Personnel will also be offered retirement options.

            Estimates are that more than 1,300 enlisted personnel will be affected. For further details see Marine Administrative Message 302/20 at www.marines.mil.

 

Changes to PPP pass House
            Legislation that would make the U.S. Small Business Administration’s PPP more business-friendly passed the U.S. House of Representatives May 29 and now moves to the Senate.

            House Resolution 7010, the bi-partisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act would (among other draft measures) extend the eight weeks period of the program for paying employees. The legislation can be found at www.house.gov/billsthisweek.

 

NMI to start PUA registration, expand testing
            In his May 29 press conference, Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said community-based testing in the Northern Mariana Islands will grow. The governor’s COVID-19 Task Force and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. are in the planning process to expand testing. The NMI uses SolGent test kits from South Korea, which were approved for emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month.

            More information is available at governor.gov.mp/covid-19/testing.

            The NMI Department of Labor will begin accepting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications next week. Employers were able to register via hiremarianas.com. The target date of disbursement is the end of June. 

            The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service has also approved the NMI’s request to exclude stimulus payments as resources for the NMI Nutrition Assistance Program participants. Previously, stimulus payments were considered a form of non-recurring lump sum payment.

            Additionally, the NMI is in the process of procuring more thermal scanners — currently, there is one at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport to screen passengers.

            The tentative reopening date to receive tourists is still set for July 15.

 

Guam residents can quarantine at home
            In her May 29 press conference, Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero announced she will extend Guam’s state of public health emergency to June 30.

            “I’m hoping maybe this might be my last declaration,” the governor said. “We’ll have to see what happens in these next two to three weeks.”

            The governor also announced that all government of Guam agencies will resume normal operational times of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, starting June 1. Agencies will still be expected to follow safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, to include continuation of a 50% limit on capacity.

            A new quarantine protocol for travelers arriving on Guam will also begin June 1. Returning and new residents of the island, essential workers such as healthcare providers, and those who have traveled to Guam due to an emergency or because of personal hardship may be allowed to complete their 14-day quarantine at home or in temporary lodging, as opposed to local government quarantine facilities.

            About 3,000 economic impact payment checks totaling $4.7 million have been transmitted to the Department of Administration.

            “Since the program started, approximately $117.9 million of stimulus checks have been put in the hands of our people,” the governor said.

            However, more than 200 of those checks were returned for various reasons such as invalid addresses. The government is in the process of attempting to locate individuals to whom returned checks were issued.

            Leon Guerrero said about $12.8 million has been distributed through the Prugramen Salappe program and that the Guam Department of Labor is aiming to get online applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program up and running this weekend.

            “The money is here, we’re just trying to quickly get our online employee applications launched,” she said.

            Testing will take to island villages from June 3 to 18.

 

GWA rakes in more bond money
            The Guam Waterworks Authority announced it sold $134 million in Revenue Bonds which attracted orders of $2.95 billion, which GWA was 22 times more than the available amount of bonds, and allowed a reduction in the interest rate from 4.25% to 4%, according to a May 29 release.

            GWA bonds received investment grade ratings of A- from Standard & Poor’s and a Baa2 from Moody’s Investors Service. The sale of the bonds is scheduled to close on June 4.

                       

Hotel to close for renovation
            Intercontinental Hotels Group and Tan Holding’s Asia Pacific Hotels Inc. have reconfirmed in a May 28 release the closure for renovation of the Fiesta Guam Resort, which will do business as Crowne Plaza Resort Guam from 2021.

            IHG will pump an estimated $32.7 million into the property for a May 2021 re-opening. The renovation will include 322 rooms, as well as other areas of the property and two new pools in its gardens.

            IHG has a similar relationship with Asia Pacific Hotels and will also brand the Saipan Fiesta.

            For earlier coverage see www.mbjguam.com

            The Guam Chamber of Commerce announced May 29 the return of Na’ La’ Bonita Guam or Make Guam More Beautiful. To nominate an individual, business or organization that is supporting beautification, download the form at https://files.constantcontact.com/901cbd68001/6bd3def7-60b8-4183-8967-be481317ff97.pdf

            Lotte Hotel Guam’s Lounge & Deli advised May 28 it will re-open for takeout only on June 1, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotel is also taking cake orders.