This has been a pretty horrible past four months. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 74 years, it’s that just because things are going well and you’re making money, it doesn’t mean you have a guarantee it will stay that way.
If you have been watching the coronavirus numbers rise quickly on the mainland, as business and money concerns are put before health and safety, stop and think. Hawaii residents and some akamai people in charge of Hawaii have been trying to help us protect ourselves.
It’s been working, but it could change overnight if we are not careful. Tourism is going to have to be downsized and allowed back very slowly.
We must find new ways to support an economy out here in the middle of the sea. We owe it to this beautiful place and the culture of Hawaii to respect and defend her.
Charge tourists more for access to attractions
I have to agree with some of the other writers on this page. Charging tourists at least $100 per visitor would help us pay for the rail system and other infrastructure that is so badly needed here. I also want to strongly suggest increasing the charge for places like Hanauma Bay and Diamond Head.
People are still going to come and will pay, too. Having lived in Africa for a time, I saw that visitors were charged $1,500 for a half-day trekking permit to see the silverback gorillas in Rwanda — that was just for a single person. Authorities there learned that conservation costs money, and this not only protects the gorillas but the native people in surrounding villages.
We do need the tourists for our economy, but if our islands continue to be overused and trampled by record numbers of tourists, the islands may well get degraded to such a point that tourists will eventually go elsewhere anyway.
If you charge money, they will still come, and that way we can hopefully keep our islands pristine.
At-risk people should receive N95 respirators
Your well-meaning editorial exhortation, “It’s not over yet; wear your mask” (Star-Advertiser, Our View, June 17), is so ineffectual that the next day you run an article, “Rising cases provoke new debates over masks” (Star-Advertiser, National Report, June 18).
Reopening the economy results in COVID-19 infection spikes because people do not wear masks and do not keep social distances anymore.
So everybody at risk — the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions — should be provided the reusable N95 respirator that protects more than the mask. Federal and state governments should coordinate the Defense Production Act and the CARES Act to really ramp up production and distribution of the N95 respirator in the millions.
This will save more lives with the reopened economy; there are about 261,000 people 65 years or older in Hawaii. But the CDC still instructs not to wear the N95 respirator.
Higher municipal golf fees could backfire
I started golfing 11 years ago when I retired after 38 years of work. One reason I never golfed earlier was because I could not afford golf fees while paying for my home and raising two children.
I golf at municipal golf courses because fees are cheaper than at private golf courses, which are out of my budget, as I live on my retirement income.
Recently I had to pay $12 more to ride in the golf cart. Because of this pandemic, golfers were required to ride on golf carts alone, paying $29. But now if you ride alone, the cart fee will be $41. If you ride with another golfer, each would pay $29.
Why did the mayor raise prices when the economy is so bad? I normally golf once a week, but I think maybe I will golf twice a month now. Soon golfers will not use municipal golf courses and will play on nicer private courses because fees are almost comparable.
Municipals may lose money raising golf fees because there are more unhappy golfers like me.
Cult members should have been jailed, fined
I read with disbelief about the 21 cult members who got ousted from three other countries, snubbed quarantine and gave the excuse that they were planning on settling here in Hawaii (“Hawaii, continuing to grapple with arriving tourists, sends cult members home,” Star-Advertiser, Top News, June 16).
My greatest disbelief is that we, the taxpayers, are paying their airfare to get them out of Hawaii.
My second disbelief is that they weren’t fined.
If these human beings could afford the plane fare to four countries, and the cost of renting homes here for 21 people, then they can afford the fines, the bail and to pay their own way out of here.
They should have been put in jail until they admitted wrongdoing, fined, then escorted out of here on their own dimes.
Waikiki lacks places for elderly to sit down
On Sunday, I took my 87-year-old mother to Waikiki for some exercise and fun after hearing about the street closure. We got there after the time period, so we walked on the sidewalks.
Parking was difficult and we had to walk, but with stops and rests I knew it was doable for my mom.
When we got to the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, she was not allowed to sit on the bench or rock wall. The security guard pointed us to a food court, a further trudge.
After a rest, we walked to the Moana Surfrider hotel, but it was locked down with no entry and no place to sit. We backtracked to the Outrigger, but the escalator said only registered guests could proceed up.
We noticed many places were cordoned off against sitting. Many of the tourists and locals we encountered were not wearing masks.
I’m very disappointed that the mayor didn’t give better information about closures and restricted places to sit. We would have never gone.
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