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‘Enough is enough’: Live events industry wants gathering restrictions eased (now)

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:44 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu’s live events businesses have a message for politicians: Open up.

At a rally at the state Capitol building on Thursday, industry professionals called on government to relax the restrictions that have prevented a number of events including business meetings, concerts, and conventions and they are hoping this is the final time they have to demonstrate.

“I don’t typically protest, but it’s gone too far,” said Kalani Rodrigues, vice president of Hawaii Stage and Lighting Rentals.

“Enough is enough. Structured events can happen safely. There’s no reason that this can’t happen.”

Rodrigues said his business lost millions of dollars in revenue due to canceled events.

“Most of the benefits have run out,” added Heather Bailey, vice president of MC&A events company. “People who were on furlough for 18 months and counting have no safety net left. Our people just want to be out there and they want to work. They want to be part of the economy.”

It’s an industry with long planning timelines, which organizers say are undermined by uncertainty from changing and confusing rules and regulations.

“It makes it very difficult, especially in the corporate market, when you have people planning events and coming her from all over the world,” Bailey said. “The stop, the start, it makes it very difficult for them to count on Hawaii as a destination.”

Gov. David Ige said this week that leaders are looking at a “systemic” way to relax regulations, which also may include allowing fans at upcoming University of Hawaii football games.

“It makes absolutely no sense to have schools open, to have restaurants and bars open where people can go in and take off theirs masks in groups of 10, but you can’t have people who have higher standards that’ll remain masked in an outdoor stadium,” Rodrigues said.

“That just baffles, it blows us all away.”

A formal announcement from Ige on restrictions is expected Friday.

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