Life’s a beach – sailors get R&R on base
            The USS Blue Ridge – the flag ship of the 7th fleet – pulled into Guam on June 11 for a port visit. Ships typically visit for about a week.

            The Blue Ridge is a frequent visitor to Guam. But this time alas, there will be no Guam Chamber of Commerce reception, or visits for the personnel (and accompanying 7th Fleet personnel) to island bars, restaurants and stores.

It’s entirely possible the Navy Exchange will again do its best to provide items for sailors until visits off-base are again possible.

            According to the Navy’s public affairs officer Lt. Commander Richard Moore, “Out of an abundance of caution, ship’s personnel on liberty will be limited to a designated safe haven area within the confines of the pier and designated beach area.”

Military members reading this should not worry about contact. “Sailors will be able to take part in recreation and morale activities on the beach and pier, but will not physically interact with any base personnel or anyone not part of the ship’s crew or 7th Fleet staff,” Moore said.

Wifi will also be provided pierside, according to the Navy.

            In other military news, Andersen Air Force Base announced June 11 a COVID-19 test performed on a member of its personnel was a false positive.

“The member has been retested twice by Naval Hospital Guam staff and both subsequent tests showed negative results.  The member was under a Restriction of Movement due to recent travel which minimized exposure,” the release said.

Guam currently has 182 positive cases, with 168 released and five deaths.

NMI has 30 positive cases.

 

NMI to ease restaurant restrictions
            In his June 12 press conference, Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres said he will issue a new 30-day executive order on June 15, which includes the Northern Mariana Islands’ transition from “yellow” to “blue” on its color grading system.

            Level “blue” for the NMI involves further loosened restrictions on businesses, such as increasing the occupancy rate of restaurants from 25% to 50% capacity.

            Community-based testing at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, Benjamin T. Manglona/Rota International Airport, Rota Health Center and Tinian Health Center will be discontinued after June 13 to shift towards the next phase — testing residents within villages.

            Esther Muna, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., said she anticipates “several hundred” businesses seeking certification of compliance to reopen. Businesses certified during level “blue” would also need to be checked again. Muna also said she is in discussion with John Tagabuel, director of CHCC’s Bureau of Environmental Health, to expedite the process.

 

GVB discusses tourism concerns
            The Guam Visitors Bureau board of directors held a virtual meeting on June 11 to discuss preparation for welcoming tourists back on July 1. However, the three core markets — Japan, Korea and the Republic of China (Taiwan) — all require a 14-day quarantine when returning from international destinations. 

            Another challenge is that Japan Airlines Inc. will not have flights to Guam in July.

            A special travel advisory for outbound Korean travel expires on June 19; Korean airlines such as Jeju Air and Jin Air have plans to resume flights in July.

            The pursuit of other markets, such as the Philippines, was also discussed. GVB interim president and CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez, in his role as the governor’s chief advisor of economic development, national and international affairs, had previously pushed support for a visa waiver for Filipino visitors to Guam. Visitors would be able to stay for a maximum of 45 days in Guam.

            Philippine Airlines will resume flights to Guam on June 15.

            Gutierrez said another possibility is securing visas from the U.S. Embassy.

            One concern discussed amongst board members was the Philippines’ status as a COVID-19 “hot spot” destination, which requires returning residents and visitors to remain at a government quarantine facility for 14 days.

            GVB also announced there will be an island-wide cleanup, Give Us a Moment #GUAM Island Price Beautification Event, on June 27.

 

Something for nothing
            Tommy Hilfiger – which recently opened its brand store as well as Tommy Hilfiger Kids at Guam Premier Outlets is offering Guam Chamber members a 20% instore discount.

            “We are so grateful for all your hard work year-round and dedication and perseverance during these unprecedented times,” Maynel Alvarez-Requejo, senior regional marketing manager for Tommy Hilfiger for North America told Chamber members. “You are always on the forefront promoting the island and encouraging visitors to experience all its wonderful offerings.”

            Other discounts to chamber members include a 20% discount from June 15 to July 31 at Niji Japanese Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Guam for members who join the World of Hyatt free loyalty program.

            The Deli has also re-opened at Hyatt and has the same discount offer.

            The chamber welcomes member-to-member discounts. 

 

NMI Department of Commerce Online Survey for Prevailing Wage
            The Northern Mariana Islands Department of Commerce is calling on NMI businesses to complete the CNMI 2020 Prevailing Wage Study online by June 30. 

            The data collection portal can be reached through http://cnmidata.commerce.gov.mp/ .

 

In time for the summer – more WiFi
            IT&E has launched Ready WiFi, a broadband product that can bring 4G into homes with the addition of a router that will accept up to five devices, according to a June 12 release.

 

Hospital would like to reassure visitors
            In case you were wondering, Guam Regional Medical City would like to share that, “Every morning, the housekeeping team from Advance Management, Inc. disinfects every floor of GRMC using Evaclean™ Protexus Handheld Electrostatic Sprayers and Evaclean™ PURTABS disinfectant cleaner.” According to a June 12 release from GRMC, “PURTABS is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as effective against emerging pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition to the daily morning disinfection.  AMI has increased its schedule for regular cleaning and disinfection throughout the day.”