Mufi's Message - February 12, 2021
COVID-19 Banner Campaign
Yesterday, HLTA joined Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association, the Waikiki Improvement Association, and the Honolulu Police Department at a press conference announcing the installation of 36 lamppost banners running along Kalakaua Avenue from the Hawai'i Convention Center to Kapahulu Avenue. This was a project that our organization initiated with the Caldwell administration, and we are grateful to our new mayor and his team for helping us to see it through to completion.
"Honolulu officials unveil new banners highlighting rules of COVID-19 safety," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 11, 2021
The public health campaign was created to educate and remind both local residents and visitors to mind the three W's: wear your mask; watch your distance; and wash your hands. The banners were largely made possible through CARES Act funding and will remain up for the foreseeable future.
"Health banners along Kalakaua Avenue advocate coronavirus safety," KHON2, February 11, 2021
I was gratified by the initial response that the banners received, especially from our area HPD officers who told me that it would make the enforcement aspect of their duties significantly easier.
"City and County of Honolulu spent thousands of dollars to help educate visitors about Hawaii's COVID-19 mandates," KITV, February 11, 2021
I wanted to send my thanks to all those who were able to attend including: Mayor Blangiardi; Council Chair Tommy Waters; WIA President Rick Egged; WBID President & Executive Director Jennifer Nakayama; and Waikiki Neighborhood Board Chair Robert Finley. A special mahalo is also in order for all of our members, led by Chair Cheryl Williams and Chair-elect Thomas Foti, who were able to join us for yesterday's press conference. It was a show of solidarity that really highlighted how committed our industry is to the health and safety of the greater community.
House Bill 1286
As you may recall, House Bill 1286, which would codify statewide travel rules, was recently heard in a joint hearing of the House Pandemic & Disaster Preparedness and Labor & Tourism Committees. The measure, which also clarifies that travelers who end up testing positive for COVID-19 while in Hawai'i are ultimately responsible for all costs related to their quarantine and isolation periods, was passed out of both committees but drew stout opposition from neighbor island residents, especially those hailing from Kaua'i who submitted written testimony in great numbers.
"Lawmakers explore the idea of unifying pre-travel rules across the counties," Hawaii News Now, February 9, 2021
The measure was introduced by Speaker Scott Saiki and will next be referred to the Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs Committee. All indications from Committee Chair Mark Nakashima indicate that the bill will be heard on Wednesday afternoon, but the hearing notice has not been posted as of yet. HLTA is already working to procure testimony from key stakeholders as it is critical for our industry to be well-represented at the next hearing with both written and oral testimony.
"Proposal To Scrap Kauai’s Two-Test Protocol For Arriving Travelers Advances," Civil Beat, February 9, 2021
Due to the pandemic, providing oral testimony has never been easier as it can be done via Zoom from the comfort of your home or office. Please visit capitol.hawaii.gov today to register as a testifier. As soon as the committee hearing notice is issued, we will distribute any needed information as well as sample testimony and templates.
"Bill to unify travel rules draws opposition on Kauai," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, February 10, 2021
It is important to get registered now as you must sign up to testify no later than 24 hours prior to the hearing. This will only take a few minutes of your time but could pay dividends for our industry should the measure is passed.
"Proposed bill would establish uniform Safe Travels program across the state," Pacific Business News, February 11, 2021
Jean Pierre Cercillieux, left, and Dennis Maher.
Please join me in bidding a fond farewell to two longtime HLTA members who have recently announced their departures for new opportunities.
First is Jean Pierre Cercillieux who has served as executive vice president and general manager of The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. JP had decades of experience already under his belt when he returned to Hawai'i to run the Waikiki property back in 1998. Throughout his many years at the helm, JP has been an extremely active member of HLTA's Board of Directors who could always be counted upon to sponsor Kaiser High School through our Citizen Scholar Program. He was a fixture at HLTA events including our General Membership Meeting and was a generous supporter of HOTELPAC.
Also moving on is Trump International Hotel Waikiki's Director of Facilities & Security Dennis Maher who will be pursuing a new venture with the Sullivan Family of Companies. Dennis was both a founding member and past chairperson of our Hawai'i Engineers Advisory Council, one of HLTA's most active committees. Under his leadership, the Council has overseen a number of HLTA projects including the restoration of Kaiser High School's stage as well as the installation of 32 donated air conditioners at Jefferson Elementary School in Waikiki.
It has been a pleasure working with both of these gentlemen, and we wish them both the best in their future endeavors.
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