The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Kauai Chamber of Commerce, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce and Molokai Chamber of Commerce launched a new petition calling on Governor David Ige to take further action to save small business. While some businesses are opening their doors, economic devastation will be long-lasting and is being compounded by mixed message and murky guidelines.

The petition reiterates the Chamber’s support for the governor and mayors’ plans for a phased reopening, including the resumption of interisland travel. It calls for clear and consistent direction for reopening, clarification on the “Act with Care” designation, dedicated PPE supplies and contact tracers, and several other measures to help small businesses.

“While Hawaii’s local businesses have done their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, their cooperation has caused them deep and potentially lethal economic wounds. We applaud our state leaders for taking steps to reopen our kamaaina economy, but even as reopening progresses, small businesses remain on the brink of shutting down completely,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President & CEO said. “The economic devastation has spared no business. It will persist long after a phased reopening begins. Instead of ever-changing, murky guidelines and mixed messages, Hawaii’s businesses need clear and decisive guidelines and support in order to survive.”

Supporters can sign the petition at https://ujoin.co/campaigns/888/actions/public.

The petition calls for:

  • Clear, consistent direction and reopening guidelines that are delivered through one government voice, and a straightforward communications plan.
  • Expansion of testing and screening capability and availability across the state.
  • A definitive and immediate announcement of the reopening date for interisland travel and guidelines for an eventual full opening to visitors.
  • Government support and leadership to stimulate the kamaaina economy.
  • Robust resources to operate their businesses safely, including access to personal protective equipment and dedicated contact tracers to identify and stop future infections.
  • Clarification on the “Act with Care” designation including:
    • An exact list of businesses that can be reopened
    • Clarity on when bars, clubs and large venues can reopen.
    • Clarity on the stakeholders included in determining the minimum 14-day period between decision points.
  • Clear directives on liability protections for reopening businesses.
  • Expedited approval for permits that are required to install safety equipment.
  • Review of upcoming regulations to determine flexibility for businesses as they look to recover from the pandemic.
    • Removal of unnecessary regulation.
    • Cut superfluous agency spending.
  • Financial assistance to businesses beyond 2-3 months to help them survive. Based on the industry, some may need assistance beyond that.

This petition follows an April effort that led to over 1,000 supporters calling for economic assistance and other actions for businesses. The Chamber wrote to Governor Ige on March 20 to call for several actions, including expedited expansion of testing and testing sites, loan forgiveness programs and pausing any government debt payments, and on March 25 to urge him to suspend GET and tax collection.