Hawaii to consider random testing
            The Lt. Governor of Hawaii has raised the idea of random COVID testing for one in 20 visitors to the state, according to the Star Advertiser. This would coincide with Hawaii’s lifting of 14-day quarantine for visitors on June 16.

            In other news the University of Hawaii is preparing to open its campus for the fall semester, and a variety of tourist attractions – such as the zoo are preparing to open.


About 10,000 expected to register for NMI unemployment
In his June 5 press conference, Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said the Northern Mariana Islands has received the shipment of PPEs and equipment from California.

The procurement of an oxygen generator system and UV-C lights with high efficiency particulate air filters are underway with the approval of funds from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs. The equipment costs $487,182, which is part of a $4.04 million grant award.

Approximately 10,000 applicants are expected when employee registration opens for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs. The application process for employees will open one week from the day funds are received from the U.S. Department of Labor, according to NMI Department of Labor Secretary Victoria I. Benavente.

            Benavente also said she would like to “speak to leaders to develop an employment insurance program” for the NMI.


Saipan restaurants ready for dine-in
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce held its first virtual general membership meeting on June 3. Presentations were given by Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres; Warren Villagomez, chairman of the COVID-19 task force; Congressman Gregorio C. “Kilili” Sablan; Victoria I. Benavente, secretary of the NMI Department of Labor; and Esther Muna, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and CHCC Bureau of Environmental Health.

Congressman Sablan said more than $37 million in loans for businesses via the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program have been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration. He is also working on $90 million in community disaster loans from FEMA.

PUA applicants are also eligible for the FPUC, according to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Victoria I. Benavente.

            The Commonwealth Health Corp. has conducted inspections and certified 23 restaurants that can open for dine-in service at a 25% occupancy limit as of June 2. Hotel restaurants can reopen but are prohibited from buffet or self-service options.


It’s permit time again
The Department of Public Health and Social Services Division of Environmental Health will be accepting renewal applications for Sanitary Permits for all health-regulated establishments starting June 8, according to a June 5 release. Sanitary Permits expire June 30 every year.

The Sanitary Permit fee is $290 for establishments with one to ten employees, and each additional employee is an additional $5.

            Completed applications and payment should be dropped off at the Guam Environmental Public Health Laboratory (aka Mosquito Lab) in Dededo, next to Northern Public Health. Payments must be made in a form of money order or check made out to the Treasurer of Guam in the exact amount. Credit card payments cannot be accepted at this time. When processed, the applicant will receive a call with instructions on the location, date, and time to pick up the renewed Sanitary Permit.

                The renewal application may be downloaded from DEH’s website at https://dphss.guam.gov/division-of-environmental-health/.


Better than Iraq          
The Guam National Guard deployed about 20 members to Arizona in support of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on June 3. They will assist the CBP with observation and monitoring of the border over the course of the next few months, according to a June 5 release.

Arizona has 27 miles of the International Boundary between the United States and Mexico. Tucson Sector Arizona has nine stations.

Drug traffickers also cross the border into the U.S. as well as undocumented immigrants.


GFT chases emergency compensation
The Guam Union of Teachers said it will still pursue legal action against the Government of Guam for not properly compensating GovGuam employees who worked during the COVID Emergency period. Currently, GFT members from various agencies are meeting with its attorney, the union said in a June 5 release. “We are working to compile necessary evidence for our case,” GFT said. The Superior Court of Guam denied a lawsuit for double pay for frontline workers.


UOG students struggle to afford fees
The University of Guam will aid students through a variety of discounts.

The first is a 5% rebate on tuition for new and returning students attending UOG for the Fall or fanuchånan semester.

            Student fees for the Summer or finakpo’ sessions have been reduced by more than 60%. Other reductions may follow, UOG said in a June 5 release.