As far as I can see, the list of “trusted testing” partners for Hawaii’s Safe Travels program hasn’t changed since it was rolled out last year. It’s a mere 24 U.S. domestic partners. As for international travel, we seem to only want the Japanese.

There are just two options for Canada, both airlines. There are five testing locations for South Korea. Eleven locations in Taiwan, all hospitals. But there are about 84 locations in Japan.

And that’s it. The U.S. still bans travel from China, Iran, the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India.

However, there’s a planet full of potential visitors, from Australia and New Zealand to Mexico to Vietnam who could be traveling here safely, with negative test results, if the state of Hawaii continued vetting and adding “trusted partners.”

In late January, the Biden administration started requiring negative Covid tests for international arrivals, allowing rapid antigen testing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So at present, a Canadian visitor could get a free Covid test from a hospital in Canada that is good enough for our CDC, good enough for Canadians, but still have to quarantine in Hawaii. Why? The universal health care of the Canadian government is not a “trusted partner.”

Neither is the CDC itself, it seems, which, on May 13, said vaccinated people could finally drop their masks. Within five days, 23 states and Washington, D.C., had eliminated mask mandates. But not Hawaii, except on military bases, where people owned by the federal government have more freedom than Hawaii’s civilians.

Gov. David Ige won’t relent, saying this for the convenience of enforcers. He’s waiting for Hawaii to achieve “herd immunity” and claims we haven’t achieved it, with 43% of the population vaccinated. Supposedly, we’re following the science, but his opinion — which continues to have the force of law under emergency orders — leaves out two significant facts.

One is that nearly 34,000 people have already tested positive for the coronavirus. They’re done, they’ve had it, as have an unknown number of others who never took the test.

The other fact is that Hawaii had vaccinated nearly all its long-term care patients, and most of the staff, at 90%, back in February. It has now vaccinated 63% of the population 16 and older, according to Department of Health figures reported by Civil Beat. Even more importantly, since we know 81% of Hawaii’s 492 fatalities have been among those 60 and older, as of May 7, about 95% of Hawaii residents 65 and older have received at least one shot, according to the Star-Advertiser’s Kokua Line.

That’s it. That’s the high-risk group. We’re done.

Burn your mask before it strangles a turtle. Scrap the Tiers, tear up the Executive Orders. Drop the contact tracing. We’re as safe as we can be.

Shipyard details

I enjoyed jumping into this week’s cover story with a short profile of Pacific Shipyards International. CEO Iain Wood and VP of Programs Troy Keipper really know their stuff.

Their advice for businesses pursuing military contract?

Prepare for a level of compliance and reporting like nothing you’ve ever seen, and not just for the work at hand but for the accounting as well. PSI made a concerted effort to structure its staff around the pursuit and execution of Department of Defense contracts, finding people with government contract experience or growing people in place through training.

Because of the specific technical certifications required for the work, hiring can be a challenge, they said, but through Covid, they actually had a different experience than a lot of Hawaii companies. As an essential infrastructure business, they continued to work and found that a pool of people had become available.

Still, workforce development is on their minds. Wood participates in the Military Affairs Council of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, which we also wrote about this week, and, on behalf of PSI and the Ship Repair Association of Hawaii, works with community colleges and Waipahu High School to get kids interested in these high-paying jobs.

Since this is a Military Appreciation Week special issue, I’ll also mention how mindful they are of the legacies of the Navy ships entrusted into their care. “Just think of the names behind these ships, the Michael Murphy, the Daniel Inouye,” he said. “That means a lot to us.”

Everyone here knows Inouye’s story. Murphy was the Navy SEAL posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor following his death in Afghanistan while calling for help when his four-man squad was surrounded by Taliban forces.

Seeking the Forty and the Fastest

The May 23 deadline for 40 Under 40 nominations is almost here! If you or someone you know is “crushing it” in business success and in community service and will be 39 or younger on Aug. 23, 2021, we want to hear about them.

Letters of recommendation are optional, though helpful.

The deadline for Fastest Growing Companies is June 6. Don’t wait until the last minute to start that nomination as we’ll need to see audited financial statements for 2018 and 2020 documenting your revenue growth.