Hawaii lawmaker, union looking into California law regarding COVID-19 reporting

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) – The state of California has recently introduced legislation to mandate that businesses report positive COVID-19 cases among their staff to state officials as well as the rest of their employees.

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California leads the US with 532,775 confirmed cases of the virus, making contact tracing an extremely difficult proposition.

Hawaii House of Representatives Labor Chair Aaron Johanson thinks that Hawaii’s ability to contact trace could be dwindling, prompting him to consider legislation like California.

“I think we need to be doing more quite honestly. I know what the Department of Health and the Governor has said. I personally think there needs to be more efforts in regards to contact tracing,” Rep. Johanson said.

Many businesses like Foodland have voluntarily reported positive cases among their staff, which the Hawaii Restaurant Association supports.

“Quite honestly there’s some owners that probably wouldn’t want it but I think we have to have complete transparency in today’s age and I trust the people that eat at our restaurants, meaning our ohana in Hawaii that they want to know for good reasons,” HRA Chair Greg Maples said.

UNITE Local 5, which represents hotel and airport workers, says transparency is key for tourism’s return.

“If we’re going to rebuild ourselves, Hawaii as a visitor destination, we have to distinguish ourselves by being the most stringent for safety. And transparency for safety is necessary otherwise there is no stringency,” UNITE Local 5 Secretary and Treasurer Eric Gill said.

No legislation is currently penned, but Rep. Johanson thinks House members will continue to have the conversation about introducing legislation before the upcoming session.

“All laws need to keep pace with modern times and I think we’re going to have to take a look at what does workplace safety in a modern, highly communicable pandemic look like? I think some of our laws are going to need to be reformed and changed just to keep our workers and citizens safe.”

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