Latest Extension by Mayor Blangiardi Does Not Consider Data Proving Professionally Managed Events are Safe
Honolulu – The Oʻahu events industry is disappointed in the City and County of Honolulu’s newest extension to suspend professionally managed events, which was originally scheduled to be lifted on Wednesday, September 22. Following the science and data, there is no reason to continue to restrict professionally managed events. After a one month ban, these ongoing restrictions will continue to have a serious effect on the thousands of individuals and numerous small businesses working and operating in the professional events industry on Oʻahu. In a joint statement of solidarity, the Hawai’i Events Coalition (HEC) and the Oʻahu Wedding Association (OWA) denounce this latest extension and say, “Professionally managed events should be able to operate on Oʻahu!”
The Mayor’s announcement yesterday following direction from the State Department of Health once again cited that these restrictions are based on current conditions and impacts to the medical providers. However, recent data has shown that hospitalization rates have dropped 25 percent since their peak in the beginning of September. In addition, the Hawaii State Department of Health’s own cluster data clearly shows that not one reported cluster originated at any previously held professionally operated event.
“The Events Community has worked diligently with government to provide safe operating protocols for events” says HEC President Bob Harmon. “These protocols follow the data and science and are as strict or stricter than the restrictions placed on restaurants, gyms, luaus, attractions and more. Yet now we face a continued ban on operating. We are frustrated and feel unfairly discriminated against.”
“We are extremely disappointed that professionally managed events continue to be banned on Oʻahu amidst major declines in COVID hospitalizations,” says OWA President Joseph Esser. “This targeted shutdown is having an enormous cost to all the businesses and employees that rely on weddings and events to provide for their families. With the expiration of unemployment benefits for most in our industry, we are in a dire situation and many companies are on the verge of permanent closure,” Esser adds.
The HEC and OWA highlight a notable flaw to the recent ban on large structured events in that a clear distinction needs to be made between professionally managed events and other social gatherings. Currently, no such distinction exists and event professionals are left to the same standards as casual or residential get-togethers. While neighboring counties in Hawaiʻi have exceptions and vetting processes in place for professionally managed events to operate, Honolulu County does not.
In response to this latest restricted period, the HEC and OWA are offering two endorsements of restrictions: one focused on events where audiences are controlled and managed, and one focused on professionally managed weddings. Both offer strict operating protocols that ensure events can be done safely and that events are truly operated by professionals. HEC and OWA strongly advocate for these proposed vetting processes instead of a blanketed ban on professionally managed events.
An online petition has been set up for people to show support for allowing professionally managed events to operate using the proposed endorsements of restrictions. Supporters are asked to sign the petition here.
About Hawaiʻi Events Coalition (HEC)
With a resolute focus on safety, health, professionalism, and economic stability, the Hawai’i Events Coalition is a 501(c)(6) trade organization serving the well-being of the businesses and individuals who make up the entire LIVE EVENTS INDUSTRY throughout the State of Hawai’i. Learn more at hawaiieventscoalition.com
About Oahu Wedding Association (HOWA)
The O‘ahu Wedding Assocation is a 501(c)(6) trade organization and is recognized as the voice and source of current information for wedding-related businesses on O‘ahu. Our diverse and lively membership of over 150 local small businesses on O‘ahu works together and promotes each other while ensuring professional and ethical business practices.
Jen Armstrong, StrongArm Communications
Mobile: (808) 286-3816
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