By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Effective Tuesday, Guam residents are no longer required to wear masks in outdoor settings, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero announced today.
"Additionally, there are no numerical or distance restrictions on social gatherings and social distancing," the governor said in a special video message.
The mask mandate, crowd limit and social distancing requirement will officially be lifted at 12:01 a.m.
"If we continue to sustain low rates of transmission and hospitalizations, we hope to lift the indoor mask requirements on May 3," the governor said.
Guam's daily Covid-19 cases continue to decline. The Department of Public Health and Social Services reported a total of 83 new cases out of 1,275 tests from April 16 to 18. Hospitalizations remain stable with 10 admissions.
To date, there have been a total of 47,738 officially reported cases, 354 deaths, 232 cases in active isolation, and 47,152 not in active isolation.
"To those of you who wish to continue the practice of wearing masks outdoors, and observe your own social gathering and social distancing preferences, whether in your businesses or your homes, I encourage you to do so, based on your circumstances and comfort level," the governor said.
Guam's public health emergency status, which has been running for more than two years, has been extended until May 31.
Leon Guerrero said lifting the emergency designation would jeopardize Guam's emegency allocation from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Guam Republicans have failed to wrangle the Democrats' support to adopt a resolution that would end the island's public health emergency status.
"Because we remain in a public health emergency, our government can also continue delivering critical services and relief to people in need, particularly those in underserved communities," the governor said.
Read related stories
"Let me be clear: lifting restrictions does not mean this public health emergency is over. I know you are all following national and international news about the remaining threat Covid-19 poses to communities the world over," the governor said.
"It is important, as we move forward into the future, that we carry with us the lessons of the past, and that we take reasonable precautions in our own lives to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe," she added.
The Supreme Court of Guam earlier issued an order lifting restrictions in court facilities effective April 19.
The requirement of six-foot social distancing will be rescinded. Individuals shall be permitted to congregate indoors and outdoors without numerical restriction.
Court employees and patrons will no longer be required to wear masks at outdoor settings, such as in parking areas.
"Other mitigation measures remain in effect, including the mask-wearing requirement for individuals entering Judiciary of Guam facilities," the court said.
"Notwithstanding the gradual lifting of restrictions, individuals are encouraged to practice such measures based on their personal level of risk," the court said. "Individuals who are not vaccinated, have not received a booster dose, are immunocompromised, or are at high risk for severe illness are at an increased risk of infection, hospitalization, and death as a result of Covid-19."