Governor Ige held a press conference this morning to discuss the alarming rise of new COVID-19 cases that we are currently experiencing. Alongside State DOH Director Char, he noted that the new cases are a mix of both the Delta and Omicron variants while Dr. Char reported that the current research seems to indicate that Omicron is extremely transmissible but has shown a lower incidence of hospitalization than previous variants—a small blessing for which we should be grateful.
These things being said, we must continue to take precautions to avoid rampant spread of COVID-19, an assessment that Governor Ige also included in his remarks today. While I am pleased that he made clear that neither new restrictions or changes to the Safe Travels Program are forthcoming, I remain cautious heading into the holiday season. As both the Governor and Dr. Char and the Lt. Governor are reminding us: we should exercise good judgement on how and where we celebrate the holiday season during this holiday season.
This morning, a group of tourism and Waikiki-area stakeholders met with Honolulu Prosecutor Steven Alm and Deputy Prosecutor Tom Brady to discuss a worrying spike in thefts and and an overall increase in crime in the Waikiki area. Joining me in our discussion with the Honolulu Prosecutor were Waikiki Improvement Association President Rick Egged, VASH President & CEO Jessica Lani Rich, Retail Merchants of Hawai'i President Tina Yamaki, WBIDA Vice President of Operations Brandon Barbour, and Waikiki Neighborhood Board Chair Bob Finley.
We enjoyed an extremely productive discussion on a wide range of topics affecting both the Waikiki area and the community at large, including Chinatown. It was encouraging to hear directly from Prosecutor Alm that he plans to raise several issues surrounding habitual offenders directly with the Judiciary during their upcoming conference as well as his plans to convene a meeting in the new year to start the process on establishing a Weed & Seed site in Waikiki. I have communicated to him that our group is prepared to identify community partners who support the initiative, and we are most anxious to begin the discussion on the merits of this program.
Another key takeaway from the meeting was the need for consistent and timely reporting, especially of property crimes. Prosecutor Alm made it clear that his office will continue to prosecute these crimes including petty offenses with priority going to repeat offenders. His office has been working closely with HPD to identify these individuals who are habitually committing crimes.
We will provide appropriate updates as we strive to make our community a safer and healthier place.
Stay in the know
Keep up with HLTA through our blog! Let us know what you think in the comment box below each post.