Thursday, July 9, 2020
Home News Covid-19 Hawaii: In a Pandemic, No State Is an Island

Hawaii: In a Pandemic, No State Is an Island

By David Bacon

James “Jiro” Yuda holds a sign at the entrance to the access road to the Hilo, Hawaii, airport.  It reads, in part, “Be Responsible. No More Flights to Hawaii.” Yuda, 44, is the former deputy public defender on the Big Island, and now works in the Family Law Division of the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General.  “I’m doing this,” he tells Capital & Main, “because someone has to.  Our leaders have to accept the reality of this situation, and what has to be done.  We face an existential threat.”

Yuda says his protest was motivated by the inactivity of the Big Island’s political leaders in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  On March 20 Hawaii Lt. Governor Josh Green, an emergency room physician on the Big Island, urged the state to suspend “all non-essential travel” in and out of the islands.  Some airlines have stopped or limited their service, including Hawaiian Airlines, which suspended its nonstop service between Maui and Las Vegas.

In the meantime, the Big Island’s County Council urged Governor David Ige and island Mayor Harry Kim to impose a 15-day lockdown with a mandatory “shelter-in-place” order if conditions deteriorate, a move the mayor continues to oppose. In the meantime, another council resolution urged a limited restriction allowing only “essential businesses” to operate.  Hawaii has a state government, and each island is a county with a mayor and council.

Kim has argued that it is sufficient for the island to help businesses use preventative practices and for the county to sanitize its public areas.  In a broadcast statement last Tuesday Kim announced, “The County of Hawaii will maintain all of its services and operators as normal.”  He called a state directive on restaurant and church closures “a guide” and declared, “Within this county, restaurants, bars and places of worship may make their own decision as to open or close.”

Some Big Island restaurants have begun serving take-out food only, while others still have table service.  In the island’s numerous farmers’ markets, booths selling items other than food are now banned, while others selling fruit and vegetables from local farms continue.  Hilo’s Farmers’ Market, normally thronged with people, has seemed virtually deserted, while other markets have closed entirely.

Yuda feels more urgent measures are necessary, like those imposed in California by Governor Gavin Newsom.  “We can’t carry on like this,” he warns.  “Look at what’s happened in Italy.”  Hawaii’s economy is more dependent on tourism than any other state’s, and stopping travel to and from the islands would have an enormous impact, especially on workers in the tourism industry.  While stringent measures will cause sacrifices, he acknowledges, “You can’t work if you’re dead.  We have to put life before the economy.”

Yuda is one of 10 candidates who have filed papers to run against Kim in the next mayoral election-a primary on August 8 and general election on November 3.  Yuda says his priorities are public safety and climate change.

Photos:  Farmers market in Hilo after people begin to stay away from crowded places.

HILO, BIG ISLAND, HI – 21MARCH20 – Farmers’ market in Hawaii as COVID-19 virus restriction take hold. Some vendors wear masks, and the throngs of people are absent. Copyright David Bacon

HILO, BIG ISLAND, HI – 21MARCH20 – Farmers’ market in Hawaii as COVID-19 virus restriction take hold. Some vendors wear masks, and the throngs of people are absent.Copyright David Bacon

HILO, BIG ISLAND, HI – 21MARCH20 – Farmers’ market in Hawaii as COVID-19 virus restriction take hold. Some vendors wear masks, and the throngs of people are absent.Copyright David Bacon

HILO, BIG ISLAND, HI – 21MARCH20 – Farmers’ market in Hawaii as COVID-19 virus restriction take hold. Some vendors wear masks, and the throngs of people are absent.Copyright David Bacon

Most Popular

Sails have begun. Explore the Long Beach Harbor on a Tall Ship!

The goal is to raise environmental awareness that leads to personal action to reduce marine plastic pollution and human impacts to our local coastline and its marine organisms with engaging bilingual (Spanish) materials and trained bilingual (Spanish) docents.

TRUMP, INC. What the Trump Campaign Is Up To on YouTube (Hint: It Involves Aliens, Bin Laden and Ivanka)

The president’s most recent sit-down interview? As it happens, it occurred last week on “Triggered,” a YouTube program hosted by his namesake son.

Centro CHA Announcements

Centro Cha virtual workshops

Recent Comments

M Mackey on Think: George Floyd
Michael S. Motta on Think: George Floyd
Thomas "HOUSE" Houchens on Think: George Floyd
Eliath Mena on Think: George Floyd
Deidre Powell on Think: George Floyd
Marcia Ladymgirl on Think: George Floyd
Jennifer L on Think: George Floyd
Carlos Fisher on Think: George Floyd
Jose "cheMMa" Rodriguz on Think: George Floyd
Aniza Thomas on Think: George Floyd
David Seay on Think: George Floyd
Marc LJ on Think: George Floyd
andre edwards on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on From Pop Culture to Cop Culture
Sharon Hislop on Think: George Floyd
Fetteroff on Think: George Floyd
Raul Acevedo Jr. on Think: George Floyd
Mel Grayson on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on A Virtual World of Events 
Alice r. Knoop on Lung Health Tips for COVID-19
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Joshua E Chambers on Take me to Sardine
Chad Dorchester on Take me to Sardine
Terelle Jerricks on Change Won’t Be Televised
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Bob Kohler on About
Judie M Barker on About
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Vivian Morales on From War to Lowrider
Robin Doyno on Staff
Publisher on About
Joe Stackhouse on Advertise
Marshariki Haylock on A Stabbing in San Pedro
CARRIE MENDOZA on A Stabbing in San Pedro
Martin Palmiere EMC(SW) ret. on Trouble on the Iowa
Martin A.Palmiere EMC(SW) USN(ret.) on Trouble on the Iowa
John H Winkler on Frequently Asked Questions
J. McVey on Staff
Malou Mariano on Tampering and Collusion
Terrell Williams on The New Gap Band Fills The Gap
Alton C . Thompson, Ph. D. on About
Harold Ericsson on Letters to the Editor
Hillbinkel on Trouble on the Iowa
Ian Gordon on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
larry lebedin on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
Joseph Bianco on Frequently Asked Questions
Deborah Steed on Zerby Family Finds Solace
Don Griffin on Rosenberg
Pete on About
Anne Marie Knudsen on Clem Pennington is the Whole Package
Terelle Jerricks on About
Lyn Jensen on Go Retro with Records
Steven R. Heldt on Fig Trees Are Like Democracies
Joanne Sims on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Dave Borst-Smith on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Charles Traupmann on The Buscaino Report:
james P. Allen on Across the Great Divide
Allyson Vought on Across the Great Divide
PBinLostAngeles on RL NEWS Roundups: June 14, 2016
davehall on Voter Guide
Chris formica Gringos Tacos on Food Truck Blues
Random Lengths News on Iowa Fever
Tinisha Rodrique on IMG_1761
polos fred perry on Less Than a Side Show
cheap soccer jersey on Less Than a Side Show
le mahjong gratuit on The Surrealness of Knives and Breast
Harry and the Gang on Sherlock Holmes at the LB Playhouse
neufert architect s data pdf on IMG_1761
sewing machine reviews on Annie at the Warner Grand