In a bid to help businesses hurt by the COVID-19 crisis, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii has asked Gov. David Ige to delay or suspend upcoming general excise and other tax and fee collections for businesses impacted by the virus. It’s one of several measures proposed to help local firms.

The chamber’s president and chief executive, Sherry Menor-McNamara, said that without such aid, at a minimum, many businesses might not be able not survive through April.

“We have heard from our members across the state that they are on the brink of completely shutting down. Many fear permanent closure in days or weeks because they won’t be able to pay their April bills,” she said in a news release. “While local businesses are willing to do their part for the greater good of the community, their debts and obligations remain regardless of operational status.”

Most of the restaurants remained open on March 18, 2020. This was the only restaurant that had no food on display.
An empty food court at Ala Moana Shopping Center. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

A recent survey of member companies found the suspension of the GET and other taxes would be the most useful to businesses now, Menor-McNamara said. “While this may not be sufficient to save all businesses,” she said, “it will mitigate the significant impact.”

Ige’s office had no immediate comment.

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