Save Lahaina and Safely Open Tourism on Maui

Save Lahaina and Safely Open Tourism on Maui

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Save Lahaina started this petition to Representative Tulsi Gabbard and

LAHAINA, MAUI, HI

I have lived in Lahaina for the last 14+ years and my wife and I and our two sons are blessed to call Maui and Lahaina our home. As many know, Lahaina is a small, seaside town on the West Side of Maui. Lahaina is also the city zip code (96761) that covers the entire West Side of Maui, including Kapalua, Napili, Mahinahina, Honokowai, Ka'anapali, Lahaina and Olowalu. If you have ever been to Maui, you have likely walked down Front Street and enjoyed the laid back aloha vibes that resonate with the many tourists and locals. At one point in time, Lahaina was once the capital for the Kingdom of Hawaii, but you would barely know that if you saw Lahaina today.

The impacts of Covid-19, and the decisions of our Mayor and Governor, have severely impacted Lahaina in a most devastating way. If you don't believe me, take a walk down Front Street. If you do, you will see the sadness and desperation of the homeless, which continues to increase at an alarming rate. You will see boarded up storefronts that have been closed for months and vacant retail shops out of business. You won't hear live music playing in the normally bustling restaurants. Instead you will likely hear tweaked out drug addicts yelling at whatever walks by. If you are here on a Thursday, you will see a line of local cars, stretched along the highway for miles. They are waiting, some for hours on end, to receive a box of food from a local church (Mahalo Lahaina Baptist Church)  that will help them and their families survive another week. You will see shuttered art galleries and notice a banner overhead that ironically says "Lahaina Welcomes You Back!" 

Unfortunately, you are currently not welcomed back. Our local and state government has made that clear. The mandatory 14-day quarantine has all but eliminated tourism to Hawaii. No where else in Hawaii, even on Maui, has that decision made such a profound impact. Maui leads the state in unemployment and Lahaina has the undistinguished honor leading Maui with a nearly 50% unemployment rate. Can you imagine living in a city where half of its population is out of work?

Our goal is to raise awareness and to help Lahaina and it's people. We are calling on our state Governor, our Federal and State Senators and Representative, our local Mayor and City Council to do all they can within their power to help Save Lahaina. Help us by creating a plan to safely bring tourism back to Maui. As of September 4, 2020, Maui has seen 8 deaths due to Covid-19. The State of Hawaii has seen a total of 81 deaths. For comparison, in 2018, statewide traffic related deaths were 82. We are all for protecting our kupuna (elderly) and our keiki (children) and those at-risk, but this mandated 14-day quarantine is doing more harm than good. We are asking that definitive plans be made to determine an exact date when this quarantine will be lifted and to honor that date and not continue to push it out. Governor Ige has pushed out the expiration of the quarantine 3 times now. You have had 6 months to come up with a plan to safely protect our people and also open our economy. The federal Government has sent over $635 million to Hawaii, yet nothing has changed, only gotten worse. That is over half a billion dollars... for what?

We understand there are increases in Covid-19 on Oahu and on the island of Hawaii, and we pray for their health and continued improvement. But Maui has low infection rates, low positivity rates and HUGE UNEMPLOYMENT RATES! We have an airport that has direct flights from the mainland U.S and Canada and Asia. Maui can be the first Hawaiian island to safely welcome tourists back with mandatory pre-travel testing and post-arrival testing. We have the capability and the available (private) healthcare to administer these tests at the airport upon arrival. We have a hotel at the airport that can be utilized for the quarantine of passengers that test positive upon arrival. If an outbreak occurs, we could call for the floating Navy hospital ships to dock in Kahului or even Lahaina harbor. Or we could be proactive and have them in place prior to opening. We have hundreds of millions of federal money to assist in making this all happen in a relatively short time frame. We can save Lahaina, before it's too late. 

There is a local saying here that I think applies... 'Nuff Already! Enough with the quarantine and enough with the unemployment. Enough with the homelessness and enough with the hunger. Enough with the inaction of our political leaders and enough with playing politics. Lahaina is hungry. Hungry for change.

Join us and help raise awareness of our little island town, and help Save Lahaina.

Photo credit: Rodrigo Moraes

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!