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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Bill proposed to protect small businesses

Speaker Tina Muña Barnes introduced legislation to grant limited liability protection to businesses that provide essential services to the island through the Emergency Health Powers Act.

The recently introduced legislation extends civil immunity to all critical businesses identified through an executive order or directive from the Public Health Authority.

To date, nine states have introduced similar liability protections in response to the Covid-19 pandemic; these include states like Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Nevada, Tennessee, Louisiana, Michigan, and Minnesota.

This type of legislation has bipartisan support, and by following in their example, Guam’s recovery efforts can get back on track while ensuring the public is staying safe during the public health emergency.

“We must encourage the process of reopening our island safely. I author this bill in the spirit of inafa’ maolek to restore faith to those who are needlessly worried about opening up to the public,” Muña Barnes said.

“For many, these businesses are their bread and butter, and they should not be forced into financial ruin, nor should our community pay the price if these businesses end up closing down,” Muña Barnes said.

“By introducing this initiative, I hope to make it clear that all entities covered under this immunity are in strict compliance with public health directives and are assisting in Guam’s recovery safely and responsibly.”

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