By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The government of Guam is courting lawsuits by carrying on with coronavirus-related measures such as the forced vaccination policy, which has been legally challenged in other states, Sen. Frank Blas Jr. said today.
Blas is urging the administration to lift restrictions that have outlived their purpose, especially considering that some of them are implemented inconsistently.
“Unfortunately, there are orders that have been unreasonable or while well-intended, have caused undue stress and hardship for many hard-working and valued employees in both the private and public sectors,” Blas said in a letter to acting Gov. Josh Tenorio. Guam has been under a state of public health emergency since the first Covid-19 cases were detected on island on March 15, 2020. Related measures include mask-wearing, social distancing, limits on social gathering and business occupancy, and the no-mask-no-entry policy for the unvaccinated.
“While it is understandable why the orders were initially put in place, many of them have out served their purpose and should be eased or rescinded,” Blas said. The senator also noted the inconsistent application of the limits on social gatherings, which apparently exempt government events. “Quite a few individuals have shared their disappointment and confusion with what has been ordered and what they have seen in gatherings hosted or attended by administration officials,” Blas said. “I too have been a witness to government-hosted events that appear to have lacked social distancing protocols and attendance limitations while family gatherings and private events are being forced to adhere to the restrictions,” he added. Blas also urged the administration to lift the vaccination requirement or weekly testing for government employees. “While arguments can be made of the safety and effectiveness of the test kits and vaccines, the decision to be tested or vaccinated should be made individually and not by force or coercion,” Blas said. The senator warned that the forced vaccination policy is susceptible to legal challenges. “Courts throughout the United States are beginning to see lawsuits challenging the constitutionality and necessity for testing and vaccination mandates, and already with at least a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a temporary injunction on a government-ordered vaccination of all employees in businesses that employ over one hundred individuals has been imposed,” Blas said. “It should be anticipated that lawsuits covering all other employers will be filed and imposed with similar rulings.” ADVERTISEMENT
With regard to gatherings and vaccination mandates, Blas raised concern that the government imposition of vaccination requirements on business and private activities “may be an overreach of government authority and cause consequential economic hardship to a business.”
He said businesses have seen a drastic drop in traffic as a result of the ban on the entry of unvaccinated. “With the different mandates that have been imposed, two questions that I’m frequently asked are; are certain mandates still necessary and how long will they be in effect?” Blas asked. “These questions are normally part of a conversation about the social and economic struggles brought on by this health-related event we’re experiencing.”