States partner in COVID-19 pandemic battle


There is no clear path yet for Hawaii’s recovery efforts from COVID-19 but some officials believe joining the Western States Pact could be an option.

The House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness met on Monday to discuss steps on reopening Hawaii’s economy and jobs.

The Western States Pact was discussed at the meeting, the President of the Maui Chamber of Commerce, Pamela Tumpap, spoke about the alliance and its potential benefits to Hawaii.

“Since so many of our visitors come from the regions of California, Oregon and Washington and they’ll be looking at the same things we’re looking at in terms of safe recovery and building confidence,” Tumpap said, “As we look at the California pact, they’ve all agreed to work together on a shared approach to reopening their economies that identifies clean indicators for communities to restart public life and businesses.”

Five states are in the alliance California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada working together to slow the spread of coronavirus, while monitoring impacts to local economies.

The states agree to put the health of residents first, base its decisions on science and not politics and work together for best practices on testing, tracking and isolation.

In a statement, Governor David Ige, said he is coordinating with the other governors to overcome certain challenges.

“We are participating with the Western States Coalition, but because of Hawai‘i’s geographic separation, there isn’t the critical need to coordinate policy changes and activities. However, we did agree that there would be tremendous benefit in sharing best practices and ideas as we look at reopening our economies. There’s a lot of complementary activity that we can engage in, such as tracking down personal protective equipment and other challenges that all states are struggling with. The opportunity to discuss and coordinate with other western governors is a tremendous benefit to the people of Hawai‘i.”

The State’s House Speaker, Rep. Scott Saiki, said partnering with the five western states could help, could be positive for the state.

Saiki said, “We could all learn from each other, we could share best practices developed in those states I just think it could be a benefit for Hawaii to be involved in that alliance.”

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