'Where do we go from here?'
Republican senators getting impatient with the administration's silence on post-Covid economic plan
With the coronavirus appearing to be under control and Guam seemingly headed to normalcy, what do we expect next?
In the absence of a clear post-Covid recovery plan from the administration, Republican senators are getting impatient.
"The question now becomes, what is your administration’s plan and timelines to expand the opening of the island for economic growth and opportunities?" four Republicans asked in a letter to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
The government has eased more pandemic-related restrictions, allowing bigger crowds at business establishments. Gearing up for the slow reopening of tourism, the governor has issued a new executive order expanding the quarantine exemptions for incoming travelers.
The latest directive allows travelers vaccinated with AstraZeneca to enter the island and skip the quarantine requirement.
"While we understand that business activity was never completely shut down through the pandemic, there were, and continue to be limitations. We are not here to challenge the reasons for these actions, rather we would like to obtain a better grasp of what happens next," reads the letter signed by Sens. James Moylan, Frank Blas Jr,., Tony Ada and Chris Duenas.
"Where do we go from here? When can business owners plan expansions of their operations, bring more of their employees back, or even invest without the fear that another setback could be on the horizon?" they asked.
While the end of the pandemic remains unceratin, the senators said this should not impede the economic planning process.
The senators asked the administration to provide "timelines on under what premises will we be able to increase occupancy numbers inside ballrooms, relax some of the rules for commerce, and advise our source markets that Guam is safe for visitors."
A timeline is necessary to allow local businesses to better prepare their operations.
"No one expects full plane loads to be heading from Korea to Guam in the next few weeks, but with actual timelines, business entities can prepare and establish their plans of action, so that when we finally get to full plane loads, the island will be better equipped to serve our guests adequately," the senators said. "Plus, without a plan, we are essentially displaying inconsistencies with our source markets, and will lose those shares to other jurisdictions."
The senators also asked the governor to establish the criteria that will determine the the lifting of the public health emergency declaration.
"It is important that you share this with the legislature, and please provide us with any recommendations or even legislation which you feel needs to be legislated to continue to establish certain public health policies even after the end of the 'ockdown," the said. "This is a critical component of this process, and we hope it is part of your administration’s plan of action."