The outbreak of COVID-19 on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt while docked in Guam made worldwide headlines. After the U.S. Navy decided to quarantine all crew members who had tested negative in eleven (11) hotels on the island, Calvo Fisher & Jacob (CFJ) was a retained by the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association (GHRA) to represent it in negotiations with the Navy.
In early April, following a letter from the ship’s captain to senior military officials conveying that more than 100 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt docked in Guam were infected with the coronavirus, the U.S. military and the Government of Guam agreed that sailors and crew members who tested negative for the coronavirus would be quarantined for at least 14 days in designated hotels primarily in the village of Tumon – the island’s main tourism district -- in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Sailors who tested positive were to be treated inside Guam’s military bases with 1,000 sailors staying on board for essential jobs, such as running the nuclear reactor that powers the ship.
Shortly thereafter, GHRA stepped in to act as the contracting party to serve as a facilitator for the Guam hotels. Prior to formally beginning contract negotiations or executing any formal agreements, sailors had already begun their quarantine period at multiple hotels. Since these hotels had already begun housing the quarantined sailors, CFJ and GHRA were pressed to quickly negotiate and memorialize an agreement with the Navy.
“This was a unique and challenging assignment given the intense public interest in the situation on the Roosevelt, the uncertainty related to the coronavirus, deep community concern and the complexity of the federal procurement regulations and public health issues that were in play,” said CFJ partner Eduardo “Champ” Calvo. “We were very pleased to be able to assist GHRA in their extraordinary work in bringing all the parties together and solving the many logistical challenges and safety issues in a matter of weeks.” The negotiation process required the navigation of complex federal contracting regulations including dozens of contractual provisions from the Federal Acquisition Regulation required to ultimately be incorporated into the final contract.
Through this agreement, nearly 5,000 sailors and crew members were housed in most of Guam’s major hotels.
“Aside from the terms of boarding, including room rates, food services and cable and internet services, the negotiation also involved terms to address public safety concerns and the constantly evolving situation on the ground, including the unexpected removal of hundreds of TR sailors from hotel rooms for exhibiting coronavirus symptoms or testing positive while in quarantine” said CFJ managing partner Michael Pangelinan. These terms included protocols for transporting sailors to and from the hotels, protocols for providing food and other essential items and services to sailors’ rooms, and full decontamination of all hotel rooms and affected public areas in a manner that meets and exceeds CDC guidelines.
As a note, CFJ also represents the parent companies of several of the participating hotels and received the necessary waivers when requested by GHRA and the hotels to represent GHRA in negotiations with the Navy.