August 29, 2020
Today, the State Department of Health reported 310 new COVID-19 cases- the vast majority of which are still occurring on O'ahu.
I understand how daunting the "Stay at home/Work from home" order can be, but we need to get this under control. People continue to contract this disease, people continue to lose their lives, and we continue to suffer as a state. Fortunately, our tools against COVID-19 are clear; social distance; wear masks; practice good personal hygiene. If we can commit to these ideas and each do our part, we will surely see Hawai'i's caseload begin to diminish again.
On a positive note, The Maui News has reported that Mayor Victorino has given the official green light for filming of "Temptation Island" to begin at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. Despite recent opposition to this project, the production crew and cast will be contained in a bubble and will be subject to rigorous COVID-19 standards including multiple COVID-19 tests, use of PPE at all times except during filming, and strict COVID-19 hygiene protocols for the resort staff.
This project, which received support from several local labor unions, will provide more than 100 jobs to local film crew- not to mention lodging industry jobs for numerous staff at the Andaz. I am pleased that Mayor Victorino and the Maui community have ultimately decided to move forward with this production as it will give a local resort the chance to demonstrate that hygiene protocols can, in fact, keep people safe.
In closing, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to John De Fries who has been offered the top post at the Hawai'i Tourism Authority. John brings a wealth of tourism experience to this job. Born and raised in Waikiki, he has been involved in our industry in one way or another for decades. Most recently, he has served as executive director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association.
John joined HLTA as a guest speaker at our 2019 General Membership Meeting and impressed everybody in attendance that day with his presentation, "The Physics of Pō". He will be a strong leader for HTA in what will certainly be difficult times, and I look forward to working closely with him as I did with Chris Tatum. We certainly wish Chris and Peg well as they take a well-deserved vacation before re- locating to Colorado.
Please continue to stay safe and enjoy your weekend.
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