The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii launched an online petition to support local businesses and call on Governor David Ige to work with the business community to help businesses struggling financially due to COVID-19 disruptions.

The petition outlines the challenges that Hawaii businesses are facing, and urges Governor Ige to take further action to provide economic stability and eventual recovery for local businesses. While Hawaii businesses are doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, 50 percent of Chamber members reported having to scale down or completely shut down operations. The situation will only become more dire.

“Hawaii businesses are on the brink of shutting down or taking other drastic measures due to the COVID-19 economic downturn. They can’t wait weeks or months for relief measures—they need help now,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President & CEO said. “We’re grateful to Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation for fighting for significant small business support in the CARES Act. State measures must also provide significant, timely relief. The policy requests in our petition are only the first step, but these are actions that the government can take now to help businesses survive the coming weeks and months.”

The petition can be signed at bit.ly/COCPetition. It calls on Governor Ige to take the following steps to support local businesses:

  • Suspension, deferment, and/or relief of GET and other tax collections
  • Rental relief and mortgage assistance or deferral of payments
  • Low or zero-interest loans for businesses
  • Greater opportunity for direct capital infusion
  • State support or matching of loans for businesses who receive Economic Injury Disaster Loans from SBA

The Chamber wrote to Governor Ige on March 25 to urge him to suspend GET and tax collection, and on March 20to call for several actions, including expedited expansion of testing and testing sites, limited rent and mortgage relief by government, loan forgiveness programs and pausing any government debt payments.

Hawaii businesses are also encouraged to take the Chamber’s weekly survey to gauge COVID-19 impact on local businesses. Click here to take the survey.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii launched a dedicated site for the business community to receive COVID-19 updates at covid19.cochawaii.org.