Athletes deserve better
The City and County of Honolulu and Maui County have been issuing permits since early July to aquatic clubs to resume their programs at Parks and Recreation pools.
However, in Hawaii County, they still have no plans or dates to do the same.
When I inquired with Hawaii County Parks and Rec about the planned date for similar opening of facilities for the use by the Big Island athletic clubs, they could not give me even a target date, nor any criteria under which an objective way can be used to make the decision.
Instead, I was told that they will be having a staff meeting, and when all the staff feels the time is right to reopen, then they will set a date to issue permits to the swimming and diving clubs that use the county pools.
There was no shortage of excuses about COVID-19 safety and shortage of staff to justify the foot-dragging.
If Oahu, with more population, can safely and successfully begin issuing permits for team use of pools, I don’t understand why Hawaii County, with a smaller population, cannot.
I asked the leader at Parks and Rec if they reached out to the City and County of Honolulu and Maui County to get feedback and to learn from their experiences. I was informed that they had not.
I think learning from experiences of other sister counties is very important, and in this case, someone dropped the ball at the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation.
The department heads do not have any written, objective, measurable plan or milestone that can be used to make decisions objectively. Instead, what we are left with are staff gut feelings and opinions.
The athletes of Hawaii County deserve better than this from the leaders at Parks and Rec.
Big Island Athletics Advocacy, Hilo
We need to push for requiring interisland travelers undergo a mandatory quarantine like mainland tourists.
Oahu has been a hot spot for several weeks and shows no signs of getting their communitywide spread of COVID-19 under control. They are no longer able to effectively use contact tracing to contain the virus because many people who test positive don’t know how they got it.
Visitors from Oahu threaten the health and safety of residents of the neighbor islands.
“Unfortunately, if we can’t get these numbers headed in the right direction, we may be facing the re-implementation of restrictions. No one wants that to happen and this is why it is so critical that everyone does their part, every day, everyplace in practicing safety for the sake of the health of all in Hawaii,” said state Health Director Bruce Anderson.
I live near Hilo on the Big Island, and I am worried because hundreds of college students from the mainland and Oahu will be arriving at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii Community College in mid-August.
Only the mainland students will be required to undergo a two-week quarantine, not the students from Oahu, where there is communitywide spread and more than 600 active cases currently reported.
The neighbor islands are particularly vulnerable because we have a less robust health support system than Oahu, if a breakout happens here.