When residents were losing their jobs and businesses were being shut down during the height of COVID-19, a group of businesspeople came together to discuss what could be done to supplement what was being done by the local government. Realizing that information was key, they decided to approach the University of Guam (UOG), seeking private and public partnership, and developed the “Guam Recovery Program”. Together, UOG and MR&D needed to develop recommendations that could be used to advise local businesses. These recommendations would be taken from data collected on the impact that COVID-19 has had on residents and businesses.
The MR&D Approach
Two surveys instruments were developed and conducted on both residents and businesses. Under the residential survey, 702 households were surveyed. The respondents of this survey were asked about the impact that COVID-19 had on their household, specifically questions regarding employment effects, household expenses, lifestyle, public assistance, and demographics. A sub-component was also incorporated into the survey which looked at residents who applied for PUA assistance in 2020. The business survey was designed in two parts—Part 1 to collect demographic data about our local businesses and Part 2 to gather more detailed information about the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Decisionmakers were chosen to participate from a random sample of local businesses. Part 1 was conducted through telephone on 413 businesses, while Part 2 was completed online by 93 businesses within the larger sample.
The study created a baseline data set of both business and resident attitudes and behaviors. The data set will also provide quarterly reviews in the source markets and six-month updates of local consumer and business attitudes and behavior. The information helped to identify the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of residents. It also provided evidence of how the pandemic has affected all businesses in Guam and offer insight on how businesses can improve the likelihood of attracting residents and tourists back to their establishments.