About 100 lobbyists and government officials, including nearly 20 lawmakers from California, Texas and Washington, are gathering at the Fairmont Kea Lani on the island of Maui in Hawaii this week despite restrictions in their home states barring large gatherings because of new outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, Politico reported.
The 18th annual Independent Voter Project’s theme this year was how to reopen states’ economies amid the public health crisis, Politico reported.
The gathering comes as several states, including Washington, have issued new stay-at-home orders to ostensibly slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
The contradiction was not an issue for event chairman and Executive Director Dan Howle, who said Hawaii requires visitors provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival.
“It really doesn’t matter where you’re coming from as long as you have a negative COVID test before you arrive here,” he said.
Politico said Howle did not provide a list of attendees but California Assembly members Jim Cooper and Blanca Rubio attended last year, according to financial disclosure records.
The event also follows revelations that California Gov. Gavin Newsom attended a 12-person birthday party at an exclusive Napa Valley restaurant while his state halted intentions to further reopen some portions and further restrict others.
“Fair to say that the timing isn’t great,” Politico quoted Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College. “Anybody organizing an in-person event should think carefully about the optics, particularly in California, where the governor has just sent most of the state into purple. There’s a chance this will not be received well by the general public.”