Just recently the State of Hawaii began to claim that vacation rentals and bed and breakfast operations are not neccessities, but yet hotels are. This make 0 sense to me. All these type of operations are in the business of providing lodging to transients. All of them, well almost all of them, pay transient taxes. This has raised several questions for me that I think are valid and am curious if anyone has any input or if you are seeing the same in your State.
Why not shut down all transient lodging?
If the idea is to keep transient travelers away, just shut it all down. Then no one will have a place to stay when they show up. I am not sure about Oahu, but I am not aware of many transient travelers that are neccessities to our Island at the cost of possibly bringing the virus.
Why not shut down the places with the most space?
The logic to me would be to shut down the big hotels so there is limited space on the island and the few people that come can stay in vacation rentals. I know why this is a bad idea. The State of Hawaii is still struggling to deal with enforcement on vacation rentals. They do not have a way to even know if they will get the tax money from guests in vacation rentals, if they are going to enforce quarantine or partner with the counties like the hotel would, etc.
Is this even thought through?
While I know it is a tough situation it just seems like policies are getting made with minimal thought process. It seems as though if you aren't passing the same policies other islands are then you are behind or not doing your job. In that one stupid idea becomes multiple stupid ideas. A portion of the policy is to "stop advertising on all websites". There was 0 thought in that. What does that mean? Take your whole business of the internet? Go to third party sites such as VRBO, etc and deactivate your properties that you have paid advertising in advance for? Try to get money back from those third party sites for an unknown period of time?
And I guess the remaining questions is is this even an enfoceable policy. At times policies get passed with the intent that they will "self enforce". Is this one of them or are they actually going to try to enforce where people stay and what advertising is going on admist a pandemic?
To me this whole issue is pointing back to the neverending issue the tourism industry in Hawaii faces, the fact that the State of Hawaii has failed to monitor and enfoce laws with regards to vacation rentals correctly. If you talk to almost any of the vacation rental companies you will get accross the board answers that no one is checking in from the mainland and they expect that for a while. On the other hand, if you look at properties for rent by owner its a whole different story. You can see ads from owners that say "Come to Hawaii for a COVID19 special! Safest place on earth right now" and things of that nature. This is where the true problem lies. Since the State has failed to get this under control they seem to just take a swipe at the whole industry.