More businesses on Oahu, more individuals, are publicly complaining about the general shutdown of all but what are termed “essential” services.

We ordinaries question the order that lets us go solo to the beach or park but not with a spouse or child. People are regularly sneaking off to hike trails where there are no police or DLNR agents.

The owner of INSpiration home furnishing sales wonders why he cannot open and deliver to customers but Costco, Walmart and Target can —  those big boxes even to sell pieces of furniture. There was a full page ad today for Wayne’s for carpet and flooring. I guess because construction is legal. But I could walk in and buy a new carpet for my house, too. Is my carpet need “essential”?

There’s not been any evidence that a haircut or a pedicure is a hot candidate for coronavirus transmission if everyone’s careful, but all barbers and nail salons are closed. Supercuts had barely reopened this year before it was closed down again despite no violations. Restaurants and cafes expended large amounts on separation schemes for inside dining only to be told to go right back to take-out only.

Our infections are high in certain hotspots only but everyone except an “essential” doer gets dinged and is going broke.

We had surge testing but the reality is that only non-sick people would either do drive-through or wait in a line. So the infection rate from those are skewed downward.

Has anyone considered mass testing, required quarantining and shutdowns primarily in hotspots on Oahu?

We no longer trust our Health Department due to its internal turmoil. The CDC said today we won’t likely have an effective vaccine until the middle of next year. Do we stay closed and in the dark about long-range plans?

We need some better, straighter talk from the governor on all this. Not a speech from a script. Exactly how long before that $300 state plus-up on unemployment benefits kicks in? What happens if reopening businesses mainly switch to at-home contract workers rather than regular employees with full benefits? How long can landlords expect to be prohibited from evicting non-paying renters? When can we go for a drivers’ license renewal?

“We’re working on that” is not an acceptable answer.


Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Vietnam War, Iraq #1 in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. Married to Denby Fawcett, one daughter. Brett Jones.

One reply on “The Shutdown Blues”

  1. It is upsetting, that only now various government groups are coming up with plans: reopening, non-tourism industries, approaches to nursing homes, yada, yada. Could we not borrow plans from more successful states, countries,etc. These could be??? Korea, NYC, Australia. . . . Hawaii could benefit from their successes and stumbles. Are we too proud?
    For the record, I am okay being that lonely soul walking on the beach & in the park as long as the infection rate goes down. The pain or hearing of another Veteran Home Death is hard to take. As always, take good care.

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