KEEPING HAWAII SAFE FOR TRAVEL
We cannot re-open tourism without COVID-19 tests for ALL arrivals.
From Representative Bob McDermott May 18, 2020
The purpose of this document is to provide recommendations to the House Select COVID-19 Committee and the Executive Branch as a starting point for bringing the visitor industry back to strength and Keeping Hawaii Virus Free.
Representative Gene Ward and I have had private conversations with Airline and Hospitality Industry leaders. We have implored them to “take the lead” about safety measures and testing. They are talented and can develop a system far better than a government mandate developed by non-business folks. To date, none have expressed a desire to get out in front and lead.
Hawaii has a huge marketing advantage by being geographically isolated. By implementing this plan, we can advertise Hawaii as essentially COVID-19 free. Travelers will gladly pay a premium for airfare and accommodations knowing that a rigorous testing system is in place. We owe it to our employees in the visitor industry to keep them, and their families, infection free.
As a member of the committee, I have had a front row seat to observe some of the best minds in the state of Hawaii discussing the challenges their various industries are facing. Through it all, I have yet to see anyone address the elephant in the room in detail - how do we bring visitors back without having a surge of new COVID-19 cases? Fully one-third of our economy has evaporated. We need to rectify this, at least partially, immediately.
The House Select COVID-19 Committee is a policy committee, generating ideas, suggestions and formulations that the Legislative and Executive branches may or may not implement. The Ige Administration’s participation in these meetings has been inconsistent. This, combined with some obvious friction, leads me to believe we need a more clear and concise voice to chart the path forward.
The Minority recommendations are a simple framework. We do not go into the mechanics of each implementation, nor too much detail into cost or other issues. We believe the implementors are in the best position to figure those out. This is a policy outline to present the vision that it can be done. While we have been working on this since early April, we have seen a groundswell of support building through public comments. We only get one chance to reopen the visitor industry. Let's do it correctly!
PDF: Full Report