The Hawaiʻi Events Coalition calls on Governor Ige to end the restrictions that are negatively impacting the economic health of the community.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was imperative that the government take swift action to address the growing crisis. There was no vaccine, people were dying and getting sick at an alarming rate, Hawai`i’s hospitals were filling up with patients and there was a critical shortage of ICU beds. Quarantining in place and practicing strict health guidelines were essential.
Today, the State is in no such peril. The most vulnerable are vaccinated at a high enough rate that there is no longer pressure on the State’s healthcare system. The vaccine has proven to be extremely effective against all variants, including the Delta variant. Vaccines are available to anyone who wants one, other than those under 12. The Hawai`i Events Coalition questions why Hawaiʻi’s government is still insisting on an emergency order.
Governor Ige’s rationalization for continuing restrictions makes no sense. It creates continued economic hardship while doing little to further protect the health of the population. There is little danger to the State since there is very little chance of COVID-19 infections reaching a point of taxing the healthcare system. It is not the State’s job to act paternalistically to protect people from disease, especially when a free vaccine is available that will protect those that choose to take it. It is the State’s responsibility to manage the economy, generate revenue to fund government services, and provide economic opportunity for the community.
The Hawaiʻi Events Coalition represents all facets of the event industry. We were the first industry to close and will be the last to open. Over the past many months, we have worked diligently as partners with government to safely open events in increments under strict health guidelines. Through the pandemic we have supported restrictions and advocated for COVID-19 safety programs wherever and whenever people gathered. Today we firmly believe that there is no longer a need for such restrictions.
Most of our members are in dire financial straits, losing business every day to every other State in the union, all of which have announced the end of COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, many businesses are dying on the vine waiting to open, with no hope of near-term profitability. Every day we go without being open for business puts us further in a hole that will be near impossible to dig ourselves out of. And this runs true for much of the hospitality industry.
Governor Ige is derelict in his duty to provide for the people of Hawai’i. His fixation on a number that does not correlate with CDC numbers is arbitrary and is hurting the community more than helping it. According to the New York Times, Hawai’i has the second highest rate of vaccination in the country yet is the only state to not announce a firm date for opening without restriction.
The Hawaiʻi Events Coalition strongly urges Governor Ige and the State of Hawai’i to stop this madness, get in line with the rest of the nation, and fully open for business!
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