As Hawaii holds tight to its reputation as a relatively safe place to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic, people with the ability to work remotely are leaving behind virus hotspots and transporting their lives to the Hawaiian islands.

Business Insider reported on Monday that tech billionaire Larry Ellison has moved to the island of Lanai during the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy: Oracle

Now the fifth-richest person in the world is among them.

The coronavirus pandemic has reportedly compelled tech billionaire Larry Ellison to relocate to Lanai, an island he owns almost entirely.

Lanai was COVID-free for the first seven months of the pandemic. Then, in October, the first infections were detected. The case count quickly ballooned to more than 100 infections, sending the island with limited medical resources into a strict lockdown.

Although it’s impossible to know if Ellison and other newcomers will stay, state planners are angling to get them to think of Hawaii as their new permanent home.

A rush of new residents with steady paychecks and remote work flexibility could help the local economy recover, reverse the brain drain and recoup some of the devastating losses to the state’s tax base.

But for some locals, the influx of new residents is intensifying a long-held fear of being replaced by outside opportunists with bigger purse strings.

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