Hawaii has the solution to living successfully and comfortably during the coronavirus pandemic.
The state has launched a new program called Movers and Shakas, which offers out-of-state remote workers free round trip tickets to Oahu for people who are looking to reside in Hawaii.
The overall goal of the program, which was launched in partnership with the state's government, businesses and schools, is to enhance Hawaii's economy amid the pandemic, which has seen unemployment hit devastating highs.
"We wanted to help fill the gap from the decrease we’ve experienced in the 7-day visitors to our state,” Jason Higa, the group's founder, said in a news release.
Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis, and the first 50 qualified applicants will be accepted after Dec. 15 and given a round trip ticket to the island. Anyone who applies for the program must commit to living in Hawaii for at least 30 days.
“Now that many people have the choice to work remotely, there’s an opportunity for former local residents to return home and for out-of-state individuals and families to live and work from Hawai‘i for a longer period of time," said Higa. "We believe this program will attract many former Hawai‘i residents and professionals seeking a safe, warm environment to continue living their normal lives while contributing to the Hawai‘i community.”
According to the program, participants will receive access to promotions, special program benefits and opportunities to interact with the local community. In addition, participants are required to commit a few hours every week to a nonprofit where they can use their knowledge and skills.
Richard Matsui, a Movers and Shakas founder, recently returned to Hawaii from San Francisco as part of the program and said that he couldn't be happier with his decision.
"The pandemic provided an unexpected opportunity for me to leave the San Francisco Bay Area and work remotely from Hawaii,” Matsui said. “I’m excited by the prospect of Movers & Shakas bringing even more people like me who can help to diversify our local economy.”
Hawaii currently has one of the lowest amounts of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., with at least 18,484 confirmed cases and 259 deaths as of Dec. 5, according to The New York Times coronavirus database.
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