Prospects for tourism, herd immunity and plans for Guam’s Liberation Day discussed
If there’s a carrot that goes along with reaching vaccination of 80% of the population or 96,000 people by July 21, it was Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero’s words at the end of the June 4 press conference. “Once we get there, we will return to more of a normal lifestyle.”
In the meantime, vaccinated individuals can log on to visitguam.com/vax, fill in details and hope to win one of the cars or cash being raffled each week from June 16 to July 21, or other prizes which will be age-appropriate for those under age 17. The hope is that the draw of prizes will encourage more people to get vaccinated.
Leon Guerrero, Lt. Gov. Joshua F. Tenorio and former Gov. Carl T.C. Gutierrez spoke about plans for fireworks for one night over Tumon Bay on July 21, at the Guam Football Association property in Dededo and at a site down South. Drone light displays will also be offered on several evenings.
While no firm date has been set, plans to welcome American expatriates, as well as visitors with other nationalities for vaccination is being firmed up. Gutierrez said the delay was not from the Department of Public Health and Social Services. “We’re just working out the details with the hotels of packaging,” he said. Individual hotels and “some conglomerates” wanted to be included, he said. Gutierrez said the prospect of vaccination is drawing wide interest, notably from Thailand as well as individuals with private planes. “Five of them have already reached out to us. Leon Guerrero said Guam also needed to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines.
Korean media have been reporting that Jeju Air is targeting weekly flights to Guam, that T’way Air and Air Seoul have already submitted applications in Korea to fly to Guam and that Korean Air is looking at accepting bookings from Nov. 1 – both inward and outward bound. As for arriving tourists, Leon Guerrero said, “If they are vaccinated, they will be treated the same as island residents.”
As to permitting, both Leon Guerrero said there is progress and planning. Gutierrez said part of the problem is with existing legislation. “There are many different laws that different people read differently.” While reorganizing the permitting process may be a work in progress, he said, “The most critical ones are moving forward.”
Leon Guerrero said with digitizing – and fully moving the application process online to streamline processing, one a permit enters the system, “Different agencies will be able to see it at the same time.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has officially announced a grant award of $21.2 million to the Northern Mariana Islands for the rebuilding of Oleai Sports Complex in Saipan, damaged as a result of Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018.
The complex can not only host the Pacific Mini Games to be held in Saipan from June 17 to June 25, 2022, but the project will also provide 480 jobs, a June 4 release said.
The Torres-Palacios administration’s ARPA spending plan was also presented to the Northern Marianas Legislature on June 4, in the form of a power point that detailed spending.
United Airlines announced June 4 from Chicago June 4 it will purchase 15 of Boom Supersonic’s ‘Overture’ airliners, with the ultimate aim of carrying passengers in 2029. Aside from being capable of flying at speeds of “Mach 1.7, equal to about 1,294 mph. Overture can “connect more than 500 destinations in nearly half the time,” a release said, giving an example of Newark to London in “just three and a half hours.” Overture planes “will also be designed with features such as in-seat entertainment screens, ample personal space, and contactless technology,” the release said.
Flight times may come close to the Concorde service, which flew from New York to London in 1996 in two hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds. The aircraft reached a top speed on the flight of 1,350 mph.The Concorde, a supersonic commercial jet service, was retired in late 2003.
The University of Guam began a “phased re-opening June 1, according to its website, with each office having the minimum staff to provide services. Check the below link, for details.
UOG Campus Phased Reopening beginning June 1, 2021 | University of Guam
Guam submitted comments on May 26, in response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service proposed rule to designate coral critical habitat around all of Guam’s territorial waters, according to a release on June 4.
“The proposed rule included a map that illustrated all of Guam’s shores to 40 meters (131 feet), excluding Department of Defense managed shores and waters, that would be designated as coral critical habitat. To those who protect natural resources, this sounds like a good idea, until it is understood what the designation entails,” the Department of Agriculture said in a release.
A coral critical habitat designation would mean that every federal agency, or federally funded project, conducting work in that area would be required to consult with NOAA and the fisheries service to have work approved. Any project in Guam’s nearshore waters (except Department of Defense areas) from shore up to 131 feet would require another layer of permitting bureaucracy, the release said.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the fisheries service said this would not impact cultural or recreational fishing. The department disagreed. In comments submitted, the agency stated work is in progress to reinstall replacement Fish Aggregating Devices (FADS) and Shallow Water Mooring Buoys This is to specifically support the fishing community. With a critical habitat designation, the agency would be required to add an additional permitting clearance requirement to the process which would delay any installation. mbj