While hotels in Guam and Saipan are more than grateful for their quarantined guests, it is time to move on and wean us all from that arrangement.
As we prepare to open for tourism in Guam on July 1 and in the Northern Mariana Islands on July 15, we must show that we are still open societies and welcome those who would fly in and take advantage of our considerable attractions, but mostly our safe environments.
The improving ability to test those who fly into the Mariana Islands is encouraging. There really is no jurisdiction now where acceptable COVID-19 tests are not available.
The disruption to work — let alone life, for two weeks is no sign to our tourist visitors that we welcome them.
What does that two-week quarantine say to our visitors? It says that we do not trust our own people, our neighbors and friends and those who would do business in our islands and bring much-needed investment with them.
It says to our tourists, ‘We do not welcome you. Don’t come yet.’
Logically, we must lift quarantines in a few weeks — so why continue it now?
Who will reimburse those quarantined for additional expenses and the significant inconvenience incurred through loss of work and/or the opportunity to re-settle into their islands for 14 precious days?
There ought to be an on the spot grant for that.
Guam and Saipan have both shown their abilities to identify positive cases and in the case of Guam a cluster of 11 people, and to perform contact tracing efficiently.
Our people have gathered at the malls and department stores without incident. They are beginning to want to eat out, hold graduation parties — as our coverage in this paper shows. Even with guidelines for events, our people want their normality back — even the new normality.
And so do our businesses. Even at the challenging 25% occupancy in Saipan our restaurants desire to re-open.
Test people by all means. But let’s drop the mean spirited 14-day quarantines and send the right message to our visitor markets. mbj