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  • Writer's pictureBy Pacific Island Times News Staff

Governor announces stimulus aid for Guam businesses, displaced workers

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero keynotes the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association's Economic Forum at the Hyatt Regency Guam June 24, 2021. (Screen shot from GHRA's video))

The government will offer another round of small business grants using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said Thursday.

To compliment the direct aid to businesses, Leon Guerrero said the administration will also initiate a program that will send the displaced workers back to the workplace. “The concept is this: it is designed to subsidize your new hires for three months, so that you can get back on your feet. This way, we help businesses and get people working,” Leon Guerrero said, keynoting the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association’s Economic Forum held Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Guam.

“In summary, we are offering direct aid to small businesses, stimulus for families to spend in our economy,and continued policy work to create a more business-friendly environment," she added.

Guam has received its allocation of $553 million, which was part of the $604 million the territory has applied for and expects to receive through ARPA.

The administration’s proposed programs will require a partnership with the private sector, the governor said.

“We are working to incentivize the return to work, so that you can be more aggressive on hiring,” Leon Guerrero said. “I know we don’t always agree. But I hope you realizewe are all in this together and we are on the same team. In the words of Bruno Mars, I’mma leave the door open… Tell me that you’re coming through.”

The governor disclosed her intention to lift the cap on social gathering and restore maximum occupancy at business establishments once Guam achieved herd immunity by the target date.

The government hopes to immunize 80 percent of the island’s adult population by July 21, Liberation Day.

“My vision for Guam, after July 21st, is to get back to normal as possible,” the governor said, as she encouraged residents to keep their face masks on when they are in crowds.

“My Physicians’ Advisory Group has recommended that when we achieve75-percent of vaccinated adults, that we should lift additional travel restrictions--and I will bring this to my team for further discussion,” she added. “With stable numbersand more residentsprotected by the vaccine, I felt confident liftingadditional restrictions.”

Under the new guidance from the Department of Public Health and Social Services, fully vaccinated travelers may skip quarantine upon coming to Guam. Unvaccinated travelers with negative results on arrival are allowed to quarantine at home.

The Guam Visitors Bureau’s Air V&V program—which offers tour packages for U.S. expatriates and foreigners seeking to get Covid vaccines— is about ready taker off.

This initiative marks “the beginning of the return of tourists to our island,” the governor said.

“Paired with the growinglist of localbusinesses approved for Guam SafeCertification and the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp Program as well as the recent launch of the Guam Electronic Declaration Form, we are rebuilding confidence that Guam is a safe destination,” Leon Guerrero said.

“While we begin to safely welcomevisitors to our island, we continue our aggressive effort toward Operation Liberate Guam--our initiative to vaccinate 80-percent of our adult population by Guam’s Liberation Day on July 21st. “

As of today, Guam has nearly 91,000 fully immunized individuals.

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