(BIVN) – Two days after the Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi held an online “SOS Biz Rally” to raise awareness about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy, some business leaders had a chance to question Governor David Ige directly on Monday.
The Governor was participating in a Hawaiʻi State House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness meeting, via videoconference, when other committee members had a chance to ask some questions.
Wendy Laros, the executive director of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, spoke during Saturday’s SOS Biz Rally. On Monday, she told the governor that the chamber has members who are really frustrated with the State’s level of contact tracing and enforcement of the 14-day quarantine for travelers.
Laros said ensuring social distancing by breaking up large beach gatherings, as an example, needs more focus, but “instead there’s more focus – it feels like – on restrictions that actually hurt the reputable businesses that have taken every step they can to follow the rules.”
Governor Ige replied that his administration is working with the counties, and that he expects that by putting the quarantine information on a planned digital platform and delivering that information in real time to the counties will help with the enforcement.
Tina Yamaki of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii asked the governor if something can be done to help businesses that have been unable to pay lease rents due to the severe economic downturn, noting that the protections in place to prevent residential evictions do not also apply to commercial tenants. Yamaki added that if CARES Act funding cannot be used to help some of these struggling businesses, “we are going to see a lot more of them going out.”