If you do anything today, read and share this message.
We’re sad, we’re grieiving, we’re furious. Absolutely at a lack of words for the level of tragedy that has unfolded, the many missing, the homes and lives lost.
And the weight of this tragedy continues to sink deeper, not dissolve. It will be around forever, manifesting in different ways, from heaving sobs to shaking hands and the guilt of having what others do not. The thing that angers me, on top of all this, is the silence surrounding small businesses and tourism on an island that depends on tourism to sustain its community.
I hesitated writing this for a long time because it wasn’t the time or place. Truthfully, it will never be the time or place. But the urgency has increased, and I need to do so. Please be kind.
I’m angry we lost our livelyhoods. There was no clear guidance what should be done with regards to travel and small business. It was a loud message, “Maui is closed”, followed by a whispered, “well actually it’s open, but don’t go to Lahaina”. The damange was already done.
An entire community small businesses has been robbed of the ability to properly grieve and support as we attempt to keep our own lives together to feed our own families, the only answer being to get an SBA loan. Literally, that was it. We’ve received NO OTHER MESSAGES, no timelines, no semblance of a plan. It was “Maui is closed” the media took it and ran. Now, the headlines are fading. For tourism, it’s too late.
I reserve the time between 2am and 5am to cry. Our kids are at home while I scramble to apply for unemployment, we’re giving half of the shoots that do remain to our associates to ensure they’re also taken care of.
People are not travelling to Maui although they are welcome in most areas aside from Lahaina. Overnight, it’s COVID 2.0, but this time, there’s no outside help that I can see for tourist-based businesses to stay afloat. We’re giving our time and resources to support our community, then coming home to map out contingency plans if business isn’t up and running soon.
Furious. I am so furious that after COVID shutdowns, there was no plan in place to support small businesses who rely on tourism moving forward. I’m furious there wasn’t an immediate team put in place to address the needs to the community who serve the tousim industry. I’m furious there hasn’t been a press conference specifially dedicated to the many business owners afraid to lose their own homes and livelyhoods. We don’t care if the plan is perfect – where is the plan? Where is the validation our looming fears?!
It’s a hard truth, and a terrible time to even have to discuss this, believe me, I continue to grapple with every emotion. The guilt burns hardest. I feel guilty asking for help. Hate that I make this tragedy even remotely about us when others have it SO MUCH WORSE. But we need help. A secondary crisis is unfolding for small businesses. We can’t help others if we can’t support our family. We have had NO guidance. I know I’m speaking for many when I speak for ourselves, and that’s why I’m writing this now.
If you’re in the position to do so, we welcome and appreciate your support and have outlined a few ways to do so. We’ll pass on what we can to others and attempt to stay afloat with the rest. We’ve done what we can to help and are realizing the urgency of our own situation, which is indeed echoed by small businesses island wide for an undetermined amount of time. Listen closely and you’ll hear them.
Here are ways you can continue to help – the community, as well as our team and our business. If none of these methods mesh, please e-mail the Governor and Mayor (Mayors.Office@co.maui.hi.us) and urge them to give guidance to small businesses currently suffering in the wake of this unspeakable tragedy.
The important takeaway? Lahaina is closed. West Maui is closed. The rest of the island is not only open but welcome and dependent on your respectful, responsible travel.
We have, understandably, received many e-mails from clients who reschedule or cancel out of respect. We do understand this is a hard time to make decisions to keep a vacation. I honestly don’t blame anyone for feeling a moral obligation to cancel. The fact is, though, if all travel stops, or even pauses much longer, it’s likely that business you love to visit on Maui won’t be there by the time you do return. During COVID, government assistance was available. This time around, no one is coming to help small businesses.
Maui is open – come.
It’s a hard truth, and a terrible time to even have to discuss this, but it’s the reality of a secondary crisis has unfolded OVERNIGHT for many small businesses, our own included. We can’t help others if we can’t support our family. An SBA loan only goes so far. Unemployment and savings only go so far in one of the most expensive places to live. If you’re in the position to do so, we welcome and appreciate your support. We’ll pass on what we can to others and attempt to stay afloat with the rest. We’ve done what we can to help and are realizing the urgency of our own situation, which, if you listen around, is echoed by small businesses island wide.
This message MUST be shared. Thank you for your support. Whether it comes from gallery upgrades, Venmo, new bookings or reviews, it all means a lot to us. We hope to see you soon.