It seems we can barely get through even 12 hours in the Hawaii travel news cycle without some out of left field change. And this morning is no different. It is being widely reported that Big Island Mayor Kim has decided the island, including its massive Kona and Kohala Coast resorts, will remain closed at this time. And Honolulu’s mayor is contemplating something we’ve been suggesting for months.
Did Governor Ige give the option to islands to remain closed?
Yesterday, the governor apparently told county mayors they could opt out of the pre-travel testing quarantine waiver while at the same time telling Kauai (and others) that a second required test following arrival with a shorter quarantine, would not be permitted. After that, Kauai indicated that it would comply with the pre-travel testing program as opting out was “not a viable option.”
The Big Island has seen significant recent COVID outbreaks, largely related to the Hilo Veterans Home and The University of Nations clusters on the island.
Mayor Kim and Governor Ige on Will interisland quarantine be lifted on October 15?
Mayor Kim said he believes that the current interisland quarantine will remain in effect through the end of October, although we are still awaiting word on that from Governor Ige. That 14-day quarantine is currently in effect when traveling outbound from Honolulu to the neighbor islands as well as between neighbor islands.
The interisland quarantine and updates on the pre-travel testing program are to be addressed by “midweek” per Governor Ige’s statement yesterday. Kauai Mayor Kawakami said, however, that “If the state has a plan, we don’t have clear guidance on what that plan looks like for interisland travel. Oftentimes conversations happen without our input.”
Honolulu could announce an on-arrival testing option.
Moving in yet another direction, Honolulu’s mayor indicated he may have an on-arrival testing program for those who don’t participate in the pre-travel testing. He has asked for 30,000 additional tests to begin such a program, although he said Honolulu hasn’t “taken it to the next step of how we roll it out.”
Perhaps Kauai could move in the same direction. That given that it has already obtained 15,000 test kits.
Beat of Hawaii.
We concur with Lieutenant Governor Josh Green when he said yesterday, “If people want to not open Hawaii, if that’s what some of the mayors are saying, they should just say it and we’ll have that discussion… Then we’ll find out what we have to do to support people on very long-term unemployment… If we continue to remain shut, I think you’re going to see massive numbers of people finally saying I can’t even fathom listening to the rules that are out there. Then you’re going to have a lot of spread.”
Any quarantine, whether 3-day or 14-day, means essentially that Hawaii will remain closed, and that there will be no tourism. Regarding interisland travel, those transiting via Honolulu also cannot be expected to endure any quarantine.
The idea proferred by Honolulu Mayor Caldwell makes good sense, is worthy of pursuit, and is something that we have been mentioning for months.
Moreover, the lack of direction and communication from the governor with Hawaii residents, the traveling public, travel stakeholders, and obviously with the mayors, is an abysmal failure.
More updates coming soon. As always, we welcome your input.
Beat of Hawaii © photo at Sleeping Giant on Kauai.