Software engineer Raymond Berger begins his workday at 5am, before the sun comes up over Hawaii. That's because the company he works for is still in New York City, five hours ahead of Maui, where he rents a home with a backyard near the beach. "It's a little hard with the time zone difference," he said. "But generally I have a much better quality of life." The pandemic is giving many workers freedom to do their jobs from anywhere. Now that Hawaii's economy is reeling from dramatically fewer tourists, the AP reports, a group of state officials and community leaders wants more people like Berger to give the state an alternative to relying on short-term visitors. Coinciding with the approach of winter in other parts of the US, their campaign launches Sunday.
Called Movers & Shakas—a reference to the Hawaii term for the "hang loose" hand gesture—it aims to attract people from elsewhere to set up remote offices with a view. It touts Hawaii's paradisiacal and safety attributes: among the lowest rates per capita of COVID-19 infections in the country. The first 50 applicants approved starting Sunday receive a free, roundtrip ticket to Honolulu. Applicants pledge to respect Hawaii's culture and natural resources and help out at a local nonprofit. It didn't take much to persuade Abbey Tizzano to leave her Texas apartment and join friends in Kahala. "It's like I live two lives right now. There's the corporate side for ... the early mornings," Tizzano said. "And then there's just like the Hawaii lifestyle after I get off work around noon or 1pm."
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