Simple does not mean easy
Would it not make sense to test every person before they got on an airplane or cruise ship to Hawaii or even interisland? Yes, the airline personnel also of course must be routinely tested. I don’t mean taking a temperature because of the amount of people (who knows the actual stats?) who are asymptomatic. I don’t mean an antibody test. I mean the actual testing for COVID-19 that now can bring almost immediate results.
We have such an advantage over every other state being that we are isolated. Yes, the FDA must release nonmedical personnel to do the testing (with training of course). Even if it costs, we certainly got used to food and baggage costs, etc. We certainly got used to TSA. If people test positive, they go home and if they are negative they can return from anywhere or come our islands again.
Flights could then be full again. Hotels and bed and breakfasts would be occupied again. All stores could be open without people wearing masks and gloves. Our worship services would be available. This just doesn’t seem like rocket science.
Who’s on first?
As Hawaii reopens to tourists, it appears as though, relative to Oahu, the neighbor islands’ disadvantaged positions will deepen. With airlines receiving permission to streamline their routes, robust interisland service is unlikely to return, even into September and beyond.
Equally disturbing is that, as tourism opens on Oahu, I understand that hotel reservations must meet certain occupancy levels before owners of short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) will be allowed operate again. Say what? Apparently, government officials expect independent landlords to shoulder additional burden, rather than let the tourist market stabilize on its own.
Perhaps that same “soft-opening” of the economy may be our fate here on the Big Island. Thanks to last year’s expensive permit-filing process, owners of STVRs have already been identified. It’s easy to keep tabs on them, and maybe even charge them a luxury tax for properties worth $2 million.
The answer to “Who’s on first?” is the Waikiki hotel industry, where strong unions will protect their membership. Who’s in last place? Neighbor island workers who regularly serve the STVR industry. This includes property managers, house cleaners, maintenance people, as well as all ancillary small business.
From my point of view, free markets work best.
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