Among one of the pursuits on Guam — and elsewhere in the islands is following the rumors of who will run for public office — and in some cases this year — who their running mate will be, and in some cases which leading island figures from the political realm will support them.

And of course, who will announce their intentions when. 

If you are in the private sector, diversions are sometimes welcome from the worries of running a business — at any time, but particularly as the islands are just beginning to recover economically.

The Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association shared and reminded members on March 30 of the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services new and increased fee schedule for sanitary permits.

Most businesses will find the cash to pay the deposit for an application —which increased by 50% — but is a relatively small cost at $30.

But the fees under Schedule A have not only increased, but will increase each year for three years and will end up about double from where they originally were.

If you think this “only” affects businesses in the hospitality and restaurant business — you’d be wrong. Beauty parlors, dry cleaners, farms and ranches, bakeries and grocery stores, schools, child-care facilities, and more — all need sanitary permits.

The lowest levy in the first year is $368 if your business location has one to 10 employees. Add an employee and you add $5 to your permit. Let’s not forget a manager needs a separate DPHSS certification, for which there is a course to be taken.

And this is at a time when expenses for businesses are skyrocketing.

The same day there was talk of COVID restrictions in Guam being completely dropped. But as the governor said at a press conference, “We are in a very fragile situation here.”

Timing is all. It’s bad timing to introduce higher fees.

Mary P. Rhodes, president of GHRA recognized “this is a difficult time for any increases in fees and regulations.” Rhodes is discussing an extension on the effective date with DPHSS.

It’s essential that DPHSS agree that fee increases must be postponed. mbj