By: Jeff Tadashi
Tomorrow, Hawaii will move into the less restrictive Tier 5. Tier 5 means that restaurants can operate at 75 percent capacity, but must still maintain the 6-foot social distancing rule.
Restaurants can certainly operate at 75 percent capacity, but the 6-foot social distancing requirement forces them to operate at a much lower capacity than ¾ occupancy.
Governor Ige admitted that businesses feel they’re being punished unfairly. They should. 10 percent of restaurants have gone out of business since the pandemic began. Those that have barely managed to survive, watch the rest of the country open up while Hawaii remains restricted. Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico all eased their orders this week before the July 4th weekend.
Now with tourism returning, Hawaii restaurants cannot attract increased business. Returning tourists voice a lot of frustration about not getting reservations because there is only so many tables that can be set up and still maintain a 6-foot social distance.
The only place cleaner than a restaurant should be a hospital. Hawaii has the best record in the country in terms of vaccinations and Covid 19 infections, but we are remaining the most restrictive state.
Ige said that he is concerned about emerging variants and about Covid 19 clusters that have developed from restaurants. Because of these concerns, he believes it prudent to keep the restrictions in place until Hawaii achieves a 70 percent vaccination level.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who has at time publicly disagreed with Ige on the Covid 19 response, said that he will make a case to remove the remaining restrictions on August 8th when the current emergency proclamation expires if case counts and hospitalization rates are low.
Unfortunately, on July 5, 2021 we reported 79 new cases. Despite being restricted, despite having the best state vaccination in the United States, Hawaii’s case count remains at a level that would have shut Hawaii down when we had a Republican in the White House. Hawaii’s restrictions are politically driven with restaurant owners and workers being used as pawns. There is a real hidden agenda at work. We need to find out why.