Sherry Menor-McNamara, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, joined the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii to talk about the impact COVID-19 continues to have on local businesses. In short, the news is not good.
“I wish I could paint a better picture, but unfortunately the outlook looks pretty grim,” she said.
Menor-McNamara cited results of a recent survey conducted by the Chamber and University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO), which found a staggering number of local businesses will not be able to survive in these uncertain times.
“Back in April when we surveyed the members, ‘Do you think you’ll survive COVID?’ 6% said they would not be able to. That number jumped to 17%,” she explained. “And the further we delay the reopening of tourism, the more significant the impact will be.”
Menor-McNamara says says her organization is calling for more help from the government, including temporarily suspending the state general excise tax, adding more rent relief, and increasing the number of grants or loans available to local businesses. She is also encouraging individuals to buy local when they shop or dine out, and to follow health and safety guidelines, including social distancing and mask wearing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Until the virus is under control, Menor-McNamara said opening the state to travelers will have to wait.
“Every time we push that delay, we will continue to see another wave of local businesses shutting down,” she said. “It’s going change the local landscape and fabric of communities.”
Watch a replay of the video above.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation about the economy. Click here to watch previous conversations.