Guam governor says no quick return to tourism

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said at a press conference on July 13 that while “travel into our island has never been ended … we have not decided on when exactly we will re-do our protocols for people to come in.”

The governor said there have been some preliminary discussions about testing at the airport.

While she advised that the tourism community should be prepared, she said. “I don’t think we will have a complete return of our tourism for a year to two years.” She said the return of visitors, which she estimated could stretch to the first quarter of 2021, would be dependent on how those countries look at Guam. “We are part of the U.S. We are to them a high-risk area,” she said.

Other business-oriented news is coming she said, with an announcement in a week. Movie theaters will be allowed to open, Leon Guerrero said, although not bingo.

As to help for Hong Kong residents, she said. “We have been talking to some people that will help us make inroads to the Hong Kong investment.” Whether U.S. immigration regulations would affect that, she did not say.

Efforts to house Guam’s homeless had resulted in the first people moving into a “hotel/motel in Maite” on June 10, with 40 rooms available there.

Schools would have to consider minimum requirements for social distancing and COVID measures for the coming school year, the governor said, as set by the Department of Public Health and Social Security.

Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said, “Public health will issue some minimum criteria,” for the schools. “Many of them already have plans,” he said.

Arrangements for buses would be considered under DPHSS requirements also, he said.

Art San Agustin was named as director of the department. He is a longtime employee of the department.

 

Hat trick – third A&E MilCon awarded for Guam, NMI and elsewhere

ASMD LLC of Honolulu, Hawaii, was awarded July 10 in Washington D.C. a $100 million  indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineer contract for design and engineering services for various projects funded by the government of Japan’s Mamizu funds and U.S. funds for the development of infrastructure and facilities.

Work will be performed at various Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Pacific area of responsibility, including Hawaii and Guam, and “may include” work in the Northern Marianas Islands. Work is expected to be completed July 2025, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

On July 9 MNDPI Pacific JV was awarded a $99 million A&E contract; and July 7 Jacobs/B&M JV of Pasadena, Calif., was awarded an A&E contract for the same amount.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific made the awards, which all included potential work in the Mariana Islands.

 

When zero is a welcome figure

As of July 13, zero positive cases were announced as of 11.40 a.m. July 13 in Guam. a total of 312 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 5 deaths, 202 released from isolation, and 105 active cases. Of those cases, 266 are classified as civilians and 46 are military service members. That number includes two positives announced July 11 – plus a military member arriving on the Patriot Express at Andersen Air Force Base, whose positive result was confirmed after the individual had left the U.S. mainland.

As of July 12, the Northern Mariana Islands has 33 positive cases, including a  returning Tinian resident, who is now confined in Saipan.

Okinawa has dozens of positive cases at its two U.S. Marine Corps bases, which has angered the governor according to reported remarks at a news conference.

In other military news, a July explosion aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard – a frequent visitor to Guam for port visits – has left several personnel injured in San Diego, where the ship is homeported.

 

Guam port publishes annual citizen centric report

The Port Authority of Guam has published the port’s annual “citizen centric” report on www.portofguam.com.

In a July 13 release, the authority said the report also shows that the port’s operating expenses decreased by 4.7% or $2.4 million in fiscal 2019.

“The decrease in operating expenses was accomplished despite PAG absorbing $2 [million] in the middle of the ­fiscal year for unbudgeted payroll requirements, as well as booking $3.1 [million] in contingent liabilities in ongoing labor issues. In September 2018, prior management implemented a new pay schedule under PAG’s Compensations and Classifi­cation plan, which was not part of the expense projection in the PAG’s FY 2019 Budget.”

 

Banks update on services

In banking news, Bank of Hawaii is offering online opening of accounts for potential customers in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) and Palau (Koror) through boh.com/personal/checking-and-savings. Palau applicants currently must be existing Bank of Hawaii customers in order to access the new online account opening features. Accounts include checking accounts, savings and time deposit accounts, as well as the bank’s premium Bankohana bundle accounts.

Bank of Guam branches in Upper Tumon, Hagatna and Garapan re-opened July 11 for Saturday morning hours. mbj