(BIVN) – Governor David Ige published a three and a half minute video address to state employees on Tuesday, in which he thanked them for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, and tried to assure them that no decisions have been made regarding salary reductions, which are “the last thing anyone wants to happen.”
The governor stated:
To all of you who are working on behalf of the State of Hawaii, thank you for your efforts and your dedication to the people of Hawaiʻi. Your commitment is helping our families, friends and neighbors during this challenging time.
First, I want to thank those of you who are assisting the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in processing unemployment claims. From the DLIR building to the Sandbox, and now — the Convention Center, you are making a difference.
A big thank you to those who have volunteered at the newly established unemployment claims processing center at the Convention Center. When the call went out, hundreds of you responded. Your selfless acts will help provide much-needed financial relief to those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
I also want to commend you, and everyone in our state, for your collective efforts at social distancing. The number of new cases has stabilized. We continue to have one of the lowest infection rates in the country. And we are flattening the curve.
Despite this, we have lost a number of people to this disease. We are saddened by their deaths and the toll the pandemic is taking on the families and friends of those affected.
I know this has been a difficult time for all of us. And we all want our lives to return to normal. We are looking at how we can begin the process of relaxing the social distancing restrictions. But the worst thing that can happen is a recurrence of cases. And my primary focus is protecting your health and the health of our community. So any decisions made will be based on facts, science and guidance from our healthcare advisors. We anticipate making some announcements soon. And I will keep you informed when any decisions are made.
And finally, I want to let you know that we have not made any decisions regarding salary reductions or furloughs. This is the last thing anyone wants to happen. We will explore all options, including the rainy-day fund, budget reserve funds, and funds from the federal CARES Act. And, of course, we are already taking measures to control expenses.
Again, thank you for everything that you are doing. During this time of crisis, everyone is feeling stress, fearful for their health, and uncertain about the future. But I know that the community appreciates your commitment. And your efforts will ensure a better future for Hawaiʻi.
So please, take care of yourself. Take care of each other. And, most of all, take care of our community.