Hawaii Chamber Calls for Additional Small Business Assistance As Oahu Extends Shutdown Order, Pre-travel Testing Launch

The “Stay-At-Home/Work-From-Home” order in Oahu is extended until Sept. 24 and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii demands additional assistance to keep businesses open. 

Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara is concerned that the extended Oahu shutdown will bring businesses closer to permanent closure. 

“The decisions made in the next two weeks will determine the future of Hawaii’s local businesses and our economy,” Menor-McNamara said in a statement. 

“As state and county leaders discuss reopening, we urge them to begin with creating parity for local businesses who can operate low-risk pick-up or delivery services.”

Gov. David Ige has also announced his plans to begin pre-travel testing on Oct. 15. During the Sept. 16 briefing, Ige said travelers will have an option to avoid the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival by pre-testing and proving they have a negative COVID-19 test result no earlier than 72 hours prior to their flight to Hawaii.

Menor-McNamara said extending the pre-testing delay “will only add to this pain.”

“Business are anxious and ready to welcome back customers safely. More than half of local businesses reported they would have to make further cuts or close altogether after the travel reopening was pushed back from August to October 1,” she added.

She also said the Oct. 15 pre-testing date “must be the date that sticks” because businesses can’t continue to operate if policies keep delaying.

Menor-McNamara shared that industry leaders are ready to share and use their expertise in creating a reopening plan alongside government officials. Laulima Alliance Chair Dr. Virginia Pressler has joined the Hawaii reopening leadership team.

““The appointment of Dr. Virginia Pressler to join the leadership team reopening Hawaii’s visitor industry is a welcome step forward for Hawaii’s local businesses. As a past chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, Dr. Pressler understands the vital importance of saving local businesses by reopening the economy in a safe and timely manner,” said Menor-McNamara.

As Hawaii’s local businesses face these challenges in our economy, Menor-McNamara said, “they deserve to be heard and respected in determining a path forward.”

Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has a website filled with resources to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit covid19.cocohawaii.org to learn more.

To see the FAQs about the Safe Travels Pre-Testing Program, visit hawaiicovid19.com.

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