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Pacific Daily News
The government of Guam continued to use federal pandemic-related funds to pay for unoccupied rooms in hotels contracted to be quarantine and isolation facilities, at rates of $90 and $120 a day, purchase orders show.
The governor in May said the agreements in facilities were changed so only occupied rooms would be paid for. Purchase orders from May through October note hotels got different amounts for empty rooms.
Unused rooms are paid for to ensure rooms are available and is a protective measure, said Jenna Blas, acting administrator of the Office of Civil Defense.
“Securing the non-congregate shelter as a whole ensures there is availability when needed for COVID-19 positive persons. It is also a protective measure to ensure there are no other members of the community in that facility who are not either COVID-19 positive or assisting with the operations of the isolation facility in order to reduce exposure to others,” Blas said.
Blas also said this also applies to the quarantine facility.
The government of Guam continued to use federal pandemic-related funds to pay for unoccupied rooms in hotels such as The Bayview Hotel Guam and the Dusit Beach Resort. (Photo: Pacific Daily News)
Dusit Beach Resort Guam is contracted to be the quarantine facility for incoming travelers. Core Tech Resort, which does business as Bayview Hotel Guam, is contracted to be the isolation facility for positive COVID-19 patients.
Dusit Beach Resort’s unoccupied room rate was $120 a day, according to an October purchase order. Bayview’s unoccupied room rate was $90 a day, purchase orders show.
When asked about the reasoning behind the different rates for unused rooms in the current facilities, at the Dusit Beach Resort and the Bayview, Blas said, “They’re two different locations.”
Purchase orders from May to October show $1.9 million was spent and allocated to Dusit Beach Resort, Bayview, Days Inn and Wyndham Garden hotels for quarantine and isolation facilities.
When Days Inn was the isolation facility, the unoccupied room rate was $90 a day. When Wyndham Garden was the quarantine facility, the unoccupied room rate was $65 a day from May to mid-July and then after mid-July it was $66 a day, according to purchase orders.
GovGuam agreed to a definite use of 300 rooms at Dusit Beach Resort that were unoccupied and occupied with an agreement to use other rooms if necessary. At the Bayview, the purchase order noted 48 to 150 rooms would be needed for isolating COVID-19 positive patients.
The occupied room rate at the Dusit Beach Resort is $159 a day for one room. At the Bayview, the occupied room rate is $175 a day for one room and $50 for an additional occupant, purchase orders from September and October show.
Blas said the total $175 a day rate is inclusive of three meals.
For empty rooms, the hotels weren’t charged the 11% hotel occupancy tax. The occupancy tax is included in the rates for occupied rooms, according to Blas.
The government in March agreed to a rate of $100 a day for rooms at the Pacific Star Resort & Spa, the Wyndham Garden, the Days Inn and Hotel Santa Fe “regardless of occupancy,” but the governor in May said those contracts expired and a new agreement was reached, Pacific Daily News files stated.
“We’re not required to pay for all the rooms in the hotel. We are only paying for the ones that are being occupied,” the governor said in May.
After the first cases in March were linked to travel, the government implemented quarantine for incoming travelers. The governor has said the quarantine facilities were the best measure to prevent more spread in the community.
Purchase orders from May to October for Dusit Beach Resort, Bayview and former quarantine and isolation facilities Days Inn and Wyndham Garden amount to $1.9 million. The money for the quarantine and isolation facilities comes from the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, according to Blas.
More: GovGuam stops paying for unused quarantine rooms at hotels
In addition to unoccupied rooms, the purchase orders note differences in meal costs at the different hotels. Dusit Beach Resort purchase orders show meals for quarantined travelers are billed at $69 per meal— or $207 for breakfast, lunch and dinner— per person per day.
Quarantined travelers’ photos of food show boxed meals that generally consist of one scoop of rice or mashed potatoes, a portion of a meat dish and a side dish.
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