Hawaii offers free round-trip tickets to out-of-state remote workers

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While other states are shutting down, Hawaii is inviting people to come on in – if they will help contribute to the economy.

A new program, ‘Movers and Shakas,’ is a temporary residence program trying to stimulate the economy of the state.

One of the ways the program is enticing people to move to Hawaii is with the promise of free round-trip airfare. 

The program is also offering ‘significantly discounted hotel stays, co-working space, and regular community-building opportunities.’

‘Movers and Shakas is a small step towards economic recovery and diversifying our economy,’ program founder Jason Higa told CNN.

Only remote workers can apply for the program and they must be at least 18 years old. 

The first round of applications is due by December 15. Only 50 people will be chosen in the first round, with more applications accepted on a rolling basis after that.

After being selected, the approved participants will have less than one month to move to Hawaii, where they will have to reside for at least 30 consecutive days.

Former Hawaii local residents are also encouraged to apply to the program, according to their website.

Of course, there is an expectation that the new remote workers will give something back to the state.

Gallery: Small business statistics for every state (Stacker)

In return for the free airfare and other perks, the remote workers will be expected to share their talents and skills with members of the local community to foster local growth.

The program says the influx of employees will ‘work alongside local education non-profits to help give back to the community.’

There is also a pledge remote workers are being asked to sign where they promise to be good and responsible neighbors.

The idea is that remote workers will be able to stimulate the economy by contributing knowledge and dollars without many expenses, since they will not need to go into any sort of office.

‘Beyond bringing in valuable dollars into our local businesses, the real value is bringing talented knowledge workers who will both help to build our communities through volunteer work and to make our economy more resilient,’ Richard Matsui, another founder of the program, told CNN.

‘While the pandemic is an enormous crisis, it also presents Hawaii with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to diversify our economy.’

Hawaii does have various travel restrictions in place to manage control of the coronavirus. A 14-day quarantine must be observed by all who come to Hawaii when they arrive, though a negative test provided to the state prior to departure may allow visitors and residents to bypass the quarantine requirement.

‘It’s like I live two lives right now,’ Abbey Tizzano, who moved to Hawaii earlier this year, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. ‘There’s the corporate side for … the early mornings. And then there’s just like the Hawaii lifestyle after I get off work around noon or 1 p.m.’

Tourism is a major part of the Hawaiian economy, which suffered when the coronavirus pandemic forced travel restrictions to be implemented across the world.

According to a report by the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the state ‘lost 114,700 non-agriculture payroll jobs during the April-September period as compared with the same period a year ago.’

Unemployment also ticked as high as 20.2 percent during the second quarter of the year.

Additionally, visitor arrivals is expected to be lower in the coming years than the typical annual average.

Compared to the rest of the United States, Hawaii has typically fared better with the coronavirus, although population numbers and density play a part in that.

There have been over 18,000 confirmed cases in the state and COVID-19 is responsible for 260 confirmed deaths.

In the United States, there has been over 14.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 282,000 confirmed deaths. 

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