I hope that you had a festive and relaxing holiday with your loved ones. Although our gatherings were smaller than usual by Hawai'i standards, I am sure the love, cheer, and aloha felt by all was not dampened.
I also want to send a quick mahalo to the properties that responded to our statewide survey last week. If you have not yet responded, please try to get this short set of questions filled out and back to us on Monday, close of business.
Over the past several days, the findings of two troubling studies have been published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The first, which was run on Christmas Eve, reported that more than half of local restaurants may be forced to permanently close their doors by April if tourism does not experience a significant boost soon. Among the most telling statistics was that eighty-seven percent of restauranteurs that responded to the survey do not currently have access to financing to restart after a closure. Moreover, there has been a five-fold increase in restaurants that are currently behind in paying their bills.
"Lagging tourism could lead to majority of Hawaii’s eateries shuttering by April, survey says," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 24, 2020
Yesterday, a study from the Bank of Hawaii Foundation reported that fifty-six percent of Hawai'i residents are currently struggling to pay their rent, mortgages, or utility bills, and that lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will only intensify this problem. Perhaps most distressing is the fact that this stat has climbed from forty-five percent a mere seven months ago.
"More Hawaii residents struggle to pay bills, survey indicates," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 26, 2020
Also noted in the Star-Advertiser article was the fact that nearly three of four residents around the state supported the original Safe Travels program which did not require travelers to present their negative test results at their point of embarkation in order to bypass the quarantine period. This, along with the commercial and financial findings above, confirm the basis of our most recent letter to Governor Ige. As you may recall, a hui of more than 20 different organizations representing private business entities, trade organizations, and labor requested alterations to the pre-arrival testing program including:
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