Updated: Governor Asks That Visitors “Stop Hawaii Travel” For Now

Governor Ige held a press conference of great importance to visitors yesterday. The governor is asking that visitors and Hawaii residents consider changing their travel plans from now through October. This comes as the City and County of Honolulu has ordered canceling of all events of over 10 persons indoors or 25 persons outdoors effective Wednesday, except religious services.

Ige said, These actions will take time to make an impact on the Covid cases we are seeing. It will take 6 to 7 weeks to see significant change. So I ask everyone to do your part… Another shutdown is really the last resort.”

Ige: It is a risky time to travel right now.

He asked that visitors and residents reduce travel to “essential business activities only. It is not a good time to travel to the islands. There is limited access to rental cars (and to restaurants).”

We know that the visitors who choose to come to the islands will not have the typical kind of holiday they expect when they come to Hawaii.”

Lastly, while Ige said it will take 6 to 7 weeks to see a change, he also said in the press conference that “if we can take these actions for the next four weeks we will bend the curve of covid in Hawaii.”

The governor said he is consulting with all of the majors “We are all concerned with the surging cases. I will be looking at further restrictions on Maui”

He said lastly, “curtail travel to Hawaii. It is not a good time to travel to the islands.”

Requests but no further mandates at this time.

The governor is choosing at this time to not mandate further actions. He said he could move in that direction should it be necessary. That might include vaccination mandates for restaurants for example. He said that this situation is different than when Hawaii first implemented a mandated shutdown last year. One of the big differences he said is that the CDC has indicated that travel is safe for those fully vaccinated. In addition, as we indicated before, there is some question about the legality of further travel restrictions.

What about Big Island’s request to test all arrivals?

The governor said he is still reviewing that request from last week. If approved, and deemed enforceable, that would mandate tests for all arrivals, both vaccinated and not vaccinated.

BOH: There still has been no update from the state on this request.

Cooperation within the visitor industry.

He said he expects to see “cooperation from the visitor industry,” but did not provide any specifics. It is not clear what means are available to Hawaii, given Lt. Gov. Green said earlier today that he does not believe pre-travel testing across the board would be viable legally. That even though the Attorney General’s office appeared to disagree in that regard.

Ige is asking all partners to advise customers that it isn’t a good time to visit. He asked the HTA to help inform those in the industry and he expects them to “help in the way that they can to curtail travel to the islands.”

Ige earlier today reiterated that the majority of new cases are resulting from residents traveling to the mainland the returning to spread Covid within their communities. He said, “I’m asking all residents and visitors alike to restrict travel, curtail travel, to Hawaii to essential activities only.” Ige and other officials have reiterated as recently as today that the percentage of cases associated with visitors’ travel is less than 2%. “The number of cases due to visitors remains low.”

What is the airline industry’s response?

Ige said, “I am fully aware the airlines continue to struggle. There was a general understanding of what the healthcare conditions are in our islands. They did express support for helping in the ways that they can to deliver the message that it is not a good time to visit the islands. He said he is legally prohibited from discussing schedules, flights, or pricing with the airlines.

More news on this to follow.

Regarding lockdowns, no specifics but yes, it’s on the table if numbers don’t improve. What that could mean, isn’t even entirely clear.

Updated 8/24/21.


177 thoughts on “Updated: Governor Asks That Visitors “Stop Hawaii Travel” For Now”

  1. Florida has 3 million Covid cases and 42,000 deaths from Covid.
    Hawaii has 55,000 cases and 562 deaths.

    Yeah, Hawaii, I don’t think you want to duplicate DeSantis’ “success” on Florida.

  2. Right now fighting with Hawaiian Airlines and Delta to get a refund on flights (a total of over $5,000). We were going to a family reunion on Kauai, to see family I haven’t seen on over 20 years, so yes I am very disappointed, but I don’t want to risk getting sick either. Even with the vaccine (and yes, I will get the booster in November), there is still a chance that I can get sick or even worse, get one of my aunties or uncles sick. Not worth it! But I sure would like a refund!
    Thanks for letting me vent.

  3. Saw a clever joke that sums up the world we live in…woman sitting at her computer she yells over to her husband…”Honey I found something on the internet that all the Scientist’s and Doctors missed!!”
    Only thing we know for sure is the vaccinations work well but may need a booster for some, masking helps and social distancing is safer then gathering in a big crowd.
    Personally my position changed from “I’m vaccinated so I’m safe and highly unlikely to spread it to anyone” to realizing I was proven wrong by the Delta variant and in fact I could spread it more easily without even knowing…..so now it’s back to masking when appropriate. Yes I could still get sick but the changes have dropped dramatically. For that I’m quite grateful. But we are all in unknown territory and just have to do the best we can for everyone.
    Aloha to all, regardless of your position on this.

    1. Hi John.

      Thanks for that and your hundreds of comments. Yes, what you said is what we also have been reading.


  4. Just load up the planes with some extra icu beds and some nurses and doctors for a dual work/vacation holiday.

    Maybe hawaii could give more incentives and start on affordable housing too and catch up with tiny home movement etc.

    Also maybe Hawaii should look to Florida/ desantis for advice on how to govern a SUCCESSFUL tourism driven state.

    1. Per CDC edict, as of May 1 breakthrough cases are only counted if they result in hospitalization or death, meaning they are undercounted.

      1. Ok and so if I got covid stayed home got better how would they know? There is nothing being undercounted. Get vaccinated and wear a mask. Mahalo

  5. BOH-
    I want to give you guys a big KUDOS for all you do. I think you guys report things very fairly with all sides presented equally. I wish you could report on all news!

    Yes, I believe Ige confused and scared many people. I feel sorry for the people who are now scrambling to try to decide what to do about their vacation. I am also very frustrated with the way things have been managed since the pandemic began in Hawaii. With having family there, I watch Hawaii news closely. Once upon a time I was considering moving and joining my family there, but the way Hawaii is run I have changed my mind. Ige is ruining the state. All of this was preventable! Not sure how he spent his time and all that CARES money over the last few months, but it is clear that he didn’t have a plan for short term or long term. Consequently, there is mass confusion, finger pointing, and tons of ill will. How do you fix that? How do you change the opinions of locals and visitors? What will Hawaii do when visitors decide its not worth it to go there? How do you fix a broken economy that should NOT be broken?

    1. Thanks Amy J, i am more critical of Hawaii and local attitudes, but I think its a very sad and totally avoidable situation.

  6. We that is my wife and I will be coming to Hawaii Sept 30 for a month . We both have been vac, and going to be tested 72 hours before we come over, how can we have our test be send to you? If we needed to be tested when we get there where do we need to go to have that done and how much is the cost? Thank You

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