Today marks the beginning of something different in Hawaii: the return of tourism. Since March of this year, we’ve seen a 98% drop in tourist arrival, mostly due to a mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed by the State of Hawaii and numerous County of Hawaii rules. Good or bad, it is what is it, and there’s not much use in Monday Morning Quarterbacking these decisions.
From today anyone who gets a certified COVID test within three days of travel can come to Hawaii and avoid the 14-day quarantine. Hawaii Island, the home to Kona Impact, will add to this a quick response COVID test for all arrivals. There is no doubt that this will be an extra layer of safeguards, and there is no doubt that we’ll see some increase in cases due to the start of tourism. Both are true.
Most new cases will be preventable if people do what we know prevents the spread: mask-wearing, social distancing, good hygiene, accessible testing, contact tracing, and people who feel ill isolating themselves.
There is certainly a lot of anxiety about COVID with some people, and others have almost no fear of the virus. I don’t think either is inherently wrong; we all know our lives, associations, and risk factors. We all need to look at ourselves, our perceived and identifiable risks, and behave appropriately.
As a business owner who has seen tens of clients close, many forever, I look forward to seeing a balance between health needs and people’s needs to return to work and start making money, paying taxes. Being unemployed and relying on government support should never be a long-term solution.
We all know the shutdown of tourism and large parts of our economy are not sustainable. Balancing safety and commerce is the only way forward.
To all the Kona businesses that have had a very rough 2020, Kona Impact looks forward to seeing you back in business and growing again. As always, we are here to help you succeed.