Relief funding saves SandCastle, other local attractions

The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) established to provide direct federal funding to entertainment venues adversely impacted by the pandemic was approved for the Guam SandCastle, the Lina’La cultural park, and the Fish Eye marine experience by the Small Business Administration.

“We need to help as many of our tourist attractions as we can survive and maintain operational capability as tourism remains a moving target, and we have been working hard over the past few months to ensure the SVOG does what it is intended for us on Guam,” said Congressman Michael San Nicolas.

Tourism to Guam was expected to make a steady comeback by the end of this year; the third surge of coronavirus infections pushed back any hope of tourism economic recovery this year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared Guam one of the highest-risk communities in the nation for coronavirus infection, and has placed one of the highest travel risk designations on the island recently. A steady stream of tourists will not be a reality until as early as next year, making it impossible for many tourists-based businesses to open and employ thousands of former workers. With federal unemployment aid ending September 7, other sources of economic assistance are more critical than ever.

“We can now look forward to these key attractions continuing to operate despite tough tourism conditions, recovering payrolls for dozens of employees no longer able to avail of PUA, and helping our community to remain economically viable in these uncertain times,” Congressman San Nicolas added.

Mr. San Nicolas also has reached out to the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration asking her to fix inequities in funding approvals for applicants of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Economic Industry Disaster Loans on Guam.

“The work continues for our establishments seeking Restaurant Revitalization (RRF) funding and Economic Industry Disaster Loans (EIDL) and would like to thank the SBA for expeditiously meeting with our office this week on this matter,” Congressman San Nicolas concludes.

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