Hawaii’s planned reopening of travel has been delayed again. The governor just announced that the first possible opening date as of now is October 1. That date isn’t certain either as you’ll see below. Honestly, it remains unclear that the state has anything at the ready that would allow for reopening to occur.
Just when will Hawaii reopen with testing and without quarantine? Can you trust October?
We have no sense that anything will be different come October. That as the state has totally failed to plan and communicate just what the basis of reopening will be. Initially, we were told it was that we were waiting for testing. Then there was the Japan travel bubble idea, followed by the Hawaii resort travel bubble plan. Then all that messaging seemed to stopped entirely. We’ve just been left with the problem of further outbreaks in key mainland gateways. We honestly don’t know what the state is doing, and it is the lack of communication that is the greatest concern.
The lieutenant governor was asked when travel can resume, and he replied: “It’s a global pandemic. That’s why we have to wait to see what happens on the mainland before we open up again. And we have to learn lessons from other places — whether they opened schools, whether they opened society, how much testing and tracing they did, all those things.”
Hawaii lieutenant governor Josh Green M.D. forecasted the latest delay.
Green said last week, “I can’t imagine that we’ll try to inject tourism September 1 in advance of Labor Day, with all that’s going on still. I did not expect this to get to a place where we’re looking at 4,000 cases in a month. That was unforeseen and pretty incredible to imagine.”
The Hawaii travel industry has also been expecting this. Many hotels and some airline flights for September had already been canceled as you have noted in comments.
Hawaii Health Department’s failures continue to complicate reopening.
The department’s head Bruce Anderson and its epidemiologist Sarah Park have been widely criticized by the lieutenant governor, the state’s medical community, and others for, among many other things, overstating their abilities in contact tracing and underestimating challenges they face. Green said simply “This job is too great for her… there needs to be a new executive team put in charge.” Despite overwhelming evidence, Governor Ige, said yesterday that he is still confident about the department’s leadership. It seems increasingly likely to us, however, that big changes at the health department will, of necessity, be forthcoming.
“Department of Health has over 400 trained contract tracers while only employing around 100 of them. There is no excuse not to actively employ all available, trained contact tracers, along with additional personnel from the Hawai‘i National Guard, to rapidly trace, investigate, and contain every single positive COVID case.” — Tulsi Gabbard.
How is it that in the past six months, the health department didn’t prepare, even though there has been talk of better tracing and more staffing throughout? Green says that perhaps 2,000 tracers and volunteers are needed. That will result in a manageable situation, where we “can open up the trans-Pacific travel.” Green said that’s going to take awhile.
Updated 8/18/20 330pm.