‘Working in the dark’: Struggling businesses say state must provide clarity on when COVID rules will be lifted
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige says he’s working with the health care industry to identify indicators that would provide guidance for either lifting or expanding restrictions.
But as of right now, there are no metrics to determine when that will happen.
On Friday, Ige extended COVID restrictions another 60 days — to Nov. 30 — saying the daily case counts are still too high and the Delta variant remains a major concern.
Joseph Esser, president of the Oahu Wedding Association said it seems like the state keeps moving the goal posts. “I think that without metrics in place, we’re all kind of working in the dark,” said Esser.
“Is it hospitalizations? Is it vaccinations? Like, what number can we work with?”
Esser said planning for their industry has been a challenge.
“Not knowing what’s coming down the pipeline, as it had a huge impact on the wedding industry, on our businesses and on the couple’s ability to figure out if they can actually have their wedding or not.”
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Saturday feels Hawaii should be moving toward normalcy.
“From my standpoint, we should be able to now have football games, concerts and what have you, as long as people show that they got vaccinated, or they got tested,” Green said.
He added, “It’s safe enough for the rest of the country.”
Ige said Friday he’s aware many states have dropped all restrictions, but health care capacity in Hawaii continues to be a concern.
The governor says he’s asked the state Health Department to consider public health aspects and metrics.
“The health care professionals had indicated that they don’t believe that they would get to that point,” Ige explained. “That they had a single metric that they believe would be appropriate to capture all of the considerations that need to be taken in as we make decisions to relax restrictions or take other actions.”
Epidemiologist DeWolfe Miller called Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s response plan reasonable. The approach drops Oahu’s tier reopening system in favor of relying on guidance from health experts.
“The idea to what our hospitals and our health care infrastructure could tolerate, and put that out there,” said DeWolfe. “That’s really the most important metric I can think of.”
Miller also supports the governor’s approach.
“And I know how infuriating it is,” said Miller. “But we are getting back and we can use the vaccinations for businesses to get back to normal as much as they can, as soon as possible.”
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