Despite the spiking coronavirus cases spreading throughout the state, multiple California legislators proceeded to travel to Maui, Hawaii, news outlets reported. According to insiders, the involved lawmakers had to attend a policy conference hosted by the San Diego non-profit organization Independent Voter Project this week of November.
The assembly led by the Independent Voter Project group schedules it every year to invite many people to join and gather, but this year, they planned to invite lesser people due to the pandemic. However, Politico disclosed approximately 100 lobbyists and lawyers who still attended the conference despite the skyrocketing surge of positive coronavirus cases reported recently.
Although the newspaper Los Angeles Times did not reveal the names of the involved California legislators, the team confirmed the attendance of at least 25 people for the conference. However, the paper first recorded almost 50 people present in the planned event in Maui.
In response to this news, the luxurious Wailea resort, The Fairmont Kea Lani, clarified that the said conference attendees have to show negative COVID-19 results before they confirm their appearances at the event. The Sacramento Bee released the previously mentioned official statement to the public.
Additionally, the Sacramento Bee also interviewed the Independent Voter Project’s chairman Dan Howle concerning the situation. According to Howle, the attendees followed strict COVID-19 protocols, such as wearing masks inside the hotel grounds at all times. He mentioned that none of the guests violated their given hotel guidelines, emphasizing the fact that nobody walked around the resort without wearing a face mask and got no complaints from anyone regarding the regulations.
Last Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom established a travel advisory banning nonessential travel and urging self-quarantine measures for those people going across states and to other countries. Newsom made the advisory in response to California’s spike in coronavirus cases from the past ten days to help stop the virus’s spread across the nation. Due to the latest travel announcement, news outlets disclosed California legislators’ news proceeding to push through their Hawaii trip. The report became a controversial and hot topic among the political industry and the general public.
In a total of 14 days, Newsom requests those out-of-state travelers to California and locals who leave the state to conduct self-quarantine for the sake of other people’s safety and their own. Additionally, Hawaii requires strict COVID-19 guidelines for travelers, mandating either a negative test result within the last 72 hours or a 14-day self-quarantine.
The Hawaii trip controversy came after Newsom’s birthday party scandal, where he spent the celebration with a large group of people outside his household in Napa Valley’s French Laundry restaurant last November 6.
Newsom held a press conference on Monday addressing the birthday party situation. According to him, he did not expect to see more people at the celebration and later realized that holding the birthday party was a huge mistake. Moreover, Newsom admitted his need to own up to his mistakes and regretted going to the occasion. He needed to own up to his mistakes and become a more responsible person and political figure.
According to the LA Times, the Hawaii conference lasted for four days, composing of the attendance of multiple California Legislature members coming from different states. Independent Voter Project chairman Dan Howle refused to name the legislators who attended the event for privacy purposes.
Moreover, Howle expressed the plans the IVP made in preparation for the conference. According to him, the non-profit organization decided to implement guidelines provided in the Hawaii Safety Travel program for the guests. Additionally, Howle also stated that the hotel established sufficient social distancing spacing for all meetings’ seating arrangements at all times, ensuring the safety of all the staff and attendees involved in the event.