JV gets another MilCon award

Core Tech-HDCC-Kajima LLC was awarded a $75.59 million firm-fixed-price contract “for the design and construction of a distribution warehouse and a central issue facility at Marine Corps Base Guam,” according to a U.S. Department of Defense release. The contract also contains two unexercised options for furniture and equipment, which if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $79.13 million. Work is expected to be completed by March 2024. Five proposals were received by Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific, which made the award.


Countries lift quarantine for vaccinated tourists; U.S. domestic travel rises

Greece, Portugal, Iceland and Cyprus are among countries announcing visitors with both doses of vaccines can avoid quarantine. In other travel news U.S. travelers have taken to the air, with Transport Security Administration passenger numbers showing at least one million passengers per day from March 11 through March 20. On March 19 about 1.47 million passengers boarded an aircraft, according to the TSA, with the number rising to 1.54 million on March 21. On March 21, 2019, 2.23 million travelers passed through TSA checkpoints.


GDOL issues warning to employers

The Guam Department of Labor has reminded employers of federal law regarding unemployment.  “If an individual is recalled to his or her place of employment and they refuse in order to collect unemployment benefits, that is considered fraud by the federal government. This includes calling in sick in order to qualify for unemployment at reduced hours,” DOL said in a March 23 release. Employers struggling with these issues can report their employees who refuse work by emailing [email protected].


COVID variant in Guam will not affect island reopening; further easing of restrictions to come

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero announced one of the California COVID-19 variants had been found on Guam.

She said 49 samples from COVID positive patients were sent to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, and of those, seven had the 20% more transmissible California variant present. Of those seven, three were from a quarantine facility, but four were found in the community, indicating there is a community spread the island was previously unaware of, according to Dr. Felix Cabrera, who is a part of the governor’s Physicians Advisory Group.

The samples were taken from patients in January and February, showing multiple incubation periods in samples, and according to Dr. Cabrera, the B-1429 variant is seen in California today, and has been present on the island since the fall.

“You know it’s a dog, but you may not know what breed that dog is,” Dr. Cabrera said, while trying to describe the difference in the variant at a March 22 press conference.

“Our COVID-19 response has remained robust,” said Gov. Leon Guerrero.

She followed the assessment by saying she plans to reduce restrictions once more in the upcoming weeks, changing occupancy in certain industries to 75% and increasing social gathering numbers.

As far as the vaccine, she said, “We are well on our way to achieving herd immunity … . Today, we only have one COVID-19 patient in our hospitals, and our COVID Area Risk score remains at 0.1.”

 Cabrera said even with the new variant present, the vaccine will be “effective enough,” but that people may require a booster shot in the future.

 Leon Guerrero also said this new variant should have no effect on opening plans for the island.


Venue operators grant applications begin April 8

The U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a portal for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application, which will open April 8.    

The SBA will host a national informational webinar on the application process from 2.30 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET on March 30. Those interested in participating can register here.


Grant to support food security; PUA extended in FSM

The Federated States of Micronesia will receive $8.6 millin from the Green Climate Fund towards the $9.4 million FSM Climate Resilient Food Security Project, according to a March 21 release from the Office of the President. It is expected that approximately 68,250 Micronesian farmers will directly benefit from the project “by improving access to climate information, investing in climate-smart agriculture and livelihood practices, and developing agricultural markets and value chains.” The project is the GCF’s first single-country project in the FSM, according to the release.

In other news the FSM’s U.S.-funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program will be extended until Sept. 6, through the American Rescue Act. The Office of PUA under the Department of Finance & Administration received the official notice for extension of the PUA program from the U.S. Department of Labor on March 15, according to a March 23 release.  Qualified individuals will continue to receive the weekly benefit of $166 plus the FPUC of $300 per week.


Westin announces rooms renovation; reopens restaurant

Westin Resort Guam completed renovation of flooring, furnishing and showers in its 432 rooms in February. Nick Song, general manager of the Westin said the renovation ran to “seven figures.”

AmOrient Engineering acted as owner’s representative for construction management with ARS Aleut Construction LLC as the contractor and Vertex Guam as the subcontractor for the rooms renovation. 

Westin is due to complete its club lounge renovation by July, according to a March 19 release.

The Westin will reopen Taste restaurant on March 25 and has also introduced a new “wardrobe collection” of clothing for associates.


Downwinders to testify

The House Judiciary Subcommittee for Constitution, Civil Right, and Civil Liberties will be holding a Zoom Hearing on March 24. The Oversight hearing will be on the Eligibility to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act 2021. Those submitting testimony include Robert N. Celestial, president of the Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors, according to a March 21 release from the association. “The National Research Council’s report concluded in 2005 that ‘Guam did receive measurable from atmospheric testing in the Pacific’ and recommended that the residents during that time period be included in RECA as downwinders,” according to the release.


Survey end in sight

The Northern Mariana Islands Prevailing Wage Survey is due to close on March 31. Use the following link to complete the survey: https://cnmidata.commerce.gov.mp/


Military let loose

According to a March 19 policy update, members of the U.S. military stationed in Guam may now spend time in bars on Guam. Military members and their families had been allowed to frequent island restaurants and hotels when those re-opened.


For your diary:

May 22 – Saipan Chamber of Commerce 2021 Scholarship Golf Tournament, Laolao Bay Golf & Resort. Registration and payment can be made at the Saipan Chamber office. mbj