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Still reeling from Covid, Guam business sector gets a severe knock from Mawar

SBA, GVB announce disaster relief programs

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Guam businesses incurred damage costs ranging from $10,000 to $2 million caused by typhoon Mawar, with subsequent losses as a result of protracted power, water and internet outages, according to a survey conducted by the Guam Chamber of Commerce.

"Member businesses have reported that the access to diesel fuel and gasoline right after the storm caused much confusion and disruption in their business operations,” said Catherine Castro, chamber president. “The lack of robust and stable telecommunications immediately after the storm's battery of the island and the days following the storm was another critical concern in the survey.”

Barely reemerging from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that brought the economy to a near standstill, Guam’s business sector is now faced with another setback.

Results of the survey conducted between May 30 and June 9, revealed that 53 percent of Guam businesses were able to operate their businesses after the storm, while 30 percent opened with limited hours, and 17 percent remained closed.

"Typhoon Mawar left a trail of devastation on our island and restoration will take some time," Castro said.

While internet access was limited during the time of the survey, 97 companies responded to the chamber’s poll.

Eighty-one percent reported that they experienced adverse impacts due to Typhoon Mawar. In comparison, 12 percent responded that the storm did not negatively impact their opportunity to conduct business, while 6 percent were still assessing the impact of the typhoon on their businesses.

The chamber said one company experienced approximately $2 million in damage, while another reported “loss sales of $350,000 and $10,000 of damaged goods,” in response to the question ‘What would you estimate the damages that your business has incurred?’"

Castro added that besides the continuing power and water failures, other businesses have raised concerns about the lack of immediate clearing of fallen trees, road debris, and rubbish collection as essential recovery efforts.

The Guam Chamber asked in the survey if companies were pursuing any austerity measures and what policies will be implemented. Thirty-five percent indicated that they will reduce employee hours; 9 percent reported that they would lay off employees; 37 percent will reduce hours of operation and 55 percent responded that their companies would not be pursuing any cost-cutting measures.

Describing the nature of damage sustained, a company reported having been burglarized, had ruined clothing merchandise, and experienced extensive flooding in their business. Many reported equipment and vehicle damage, spoilage of perishable goods, structural loss to buildings, and overall business interruption. There was a concern for company employees that could not report to work due to their household losses and recovery challenges as a direct result of the storm.

Over 400 members of the Chamber were invited to participate in the poll which generated 97 completed responses.

To help augment business recovery efforts from Covid-19 and typhoon Mawar, the Guam Visitors Bureau will launch the Tourism Assistance Program (TAP) on June 14.

The program will specifically assist qualified small businesses that support the tourism industry with grants up to $25,000 subject to the availability of funds, with the goal for these businesses to reopen in time for GVB’s summer campaign period in mid-July. GVB has allocated a budget of $2 million for this grant program.

"The Tourism Assistance Program stands as a beacon of hope, offering much-needed support to those small businesses affected by typhoon Mawar,” said GVB president & CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez. “With GVB’s unwavering commitment to our tourism industry, it paves the way for a resilient recovery, revitalizing our number one economy and uplifting businesses with opportunities for growth and prosperity."

To be eligible for the program, a small business must have the following criteria:

  • Local tourism-related businesses that will re-open on or before July 15.

  • Can certify that the business is directly related to or in support of international or military guests visiting Guam.

  • Can provide evidence of economic/financial hardship or can provide evidence of damage associated with Typhoon Mawar.

Eligible companies must provide and complete the following as part of the grant application process:
W-9 Form, Copy of current business license, GVB vendor registration form, grant application form, and  only one application per corporate entity
To apply for the program, applicants can go to, call GVB at 671-646-5278 or visit in-person at the GVB Norbert R. “Bert” Unpingco Visitor Center and Tumon Office at Governor Joseph Flores Memorial (Ypao Beach) Park.

Another business assistance program is provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which opened an SBA Business Recovery Center in Guam on June 3 to provide a wide range of services to businesses impacted by the storm.

“Due to the severe property damage and economic losses inflicted on Guam businesses, we want to provide every available service to help get them back on their feet,” said SBA’s Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

“The center will provide a one-stop location for businesses to access a variety of specialized help. SBA customer service representatives will be available to meet individually with each business owner,” she added.

Business Recovery Center/ U. S. Small Business Administration
Guam Branch Office 400 Route 8, Suite 302 Hagatna, GU  96910
Opens at 9 a.m. Mondays - Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
For business owners who are unable to visit the business recovery center, they may apply online using SBA’s secure website at


“SBA representatives will meet with each business owner to explain how an SBA disaster loan can help finance their recovery. They will answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each business owner complete their electronic loan application,” said SBA Guam Branch Manager Ken Lujan.

According to Director Fred Granillo, Guam Small Business Development Center business advisors can provide business assistance to clients on a wide variety of matters designed to help small business owners re-establish their operations, overcome the effects of the disaster and plan for their future.

“Services include assessing business working capital needs, evaluating the business’s strength, cash flow projections, and most importantly, a review of options with the business owner to help them evaluate their alternatives and make decisions that are appropriate for their situation,” he said.

Businesses of any size and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. These loans cover losses that are not fully covered by insurance or other recoveries.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

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