Guam’s tourism may reopen by May 1 if the island achieved a 50 percent vaccination rate for adult population before then, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero announced Monday.
Labeling the goal “Path to Half,” Leon Guerrero said the target is to get 62,500 adults (16 years and older) fully vaccinated prior to the travel reopening.
A total of 29,134 individuals on Guam have completed both their shots of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines as of March 15.
“What does travel reopening mean? It simply means that we will make adjustments to our quarantine requirements,” the governor said at Monday’s press conference.
Setting a 50 percent vaccination rate by May 1, 2021, the governor said, was a threshold designed to adjust travel quarantine requirements. “We still have a lot of preparation, and we need to ensure these goals are met before reopening but we need to prepare now.”
She explained that changes in protocol would entail an exemption from government and home quarantine requirements.
“If someone, whether resident or non-resident, whether from the US of otherwise, enters Guam with a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival, they can avoid quarantine (both government and home/self) but they must download the Covid Alert App and must enroll in SARA Alert for 14 days,” the governor said.
“If they do not have that negative test, they will follow our current protocol. In other words, they will go to government quarantine,” Leon Guerrero added.
She said the plan is also contingent upon available information about Covid-19 variants and their response the vaccines.
State Surgeon Dr. Mike Cruz said it was not currently known if any variant of the Covid-19 has reached Guam. "We need everyone to go out and get vaccinated. If you want to get to the normalcy that we all want, get vaccinated," he said.
Part of the plan is to ensure industry workers are vaccinated and protected, which would require robust testing protocol, the governor said.
Carl T.C. Gutierrez, president of the Guam Visitors Bureau, said as the industry move forward and ramp up vaccination in the service sector, Guam can possibly allow businesses to open up to 75 percent capacity
"We are going to invite the first group of tourists to a fiesta at my house," Gutierrez said. "We’re cleaning up the place, specially Tumon to get it ready. "
Leon Guerrero said the government is still trying to determine how to provide testing so people leaving Guam can get tested and don’t have to quarantine
"We have to do this right—we have to do this safely. We absolutely do not want to go through another strict lockdown," she said.
While the number of Guam's Covid-19 cases has flatlined, the governor advised residents that the community is not out of the woods yet.
"We don’t expect normalcy until the end of the year or so," she said, reminding residents to continue practicing safety measures.
Dr. Felix Cabrera, the governor's medical advisor, said Guam's current Covid Area Risk score is 0.2, down from 47 last summer. Net positivity is at 0.9 percent with daily new cases averaging 2.6, Cabrera said.
To date, there have been a total of 7,768 officially reported cases of Covid-19 with 133 deaths, 32 cases in active isolation, and 7,603 not in active isolation.