Interesting updates from Hawaiian Airlines, the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, and Lieutenant Governor Josh Green. None of these key players are going in the same direction as Hawaii’s governor, who after months is still unable to communicate a plan. It is obvious that a lot is going on behind the scenes, and not reported on, among Hawaii travel stakeholders, in terms of moving the needle.
The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii (COCH), based in Honolulu, is asking that mainland travel be reopened before the end of July and has circulated a petition regarding doing so safely. That while the governor says no. What is also being asked for by the chamber is “clear, consistent direction and reopening guidelines that are delivered through one government voice, and a straightforward communications plan.”
“Every day we inch closer to an economic cliff that will close businesses permanently and destroy our local business community beyond repair if tourism does not reopen…Many businesses are on their last lifeline…Local businesses and workers will pay the price if safe, decisive and swift action isn’t taken.” — Sherry Menor-McNamara, COCH CEO.
The governor has also continued to talk about controversial travel bubbles, which our readers have indicated is not acceptable and would be of limited help, especially to the neighbor islands.
Does Hawaiian Airlines know something that we don’t?
More importantly, Hawaiian Airlines’ complete mainland schedule is currently shown as resuming on July 15, according to their website, despite the governor’s extension.
Starting July 1, Hawaiian Airlines is reinstating nonstop service between Portland and Honolulu. We’re left wondering just how many travelers from Portland would come to Hawaii until the 14-day isolation requirement is removed?
At the same time, the company has extended its no change fee policy to read: “Should your plans change for flights booked from now through June 30, 2020, change fees will be waived.”
Lieutenant Governor (Josh Green) and other officials move in another direction.
Many state and local leaders are arguing that it is essential that a safe means of reopening mainland tourism occur before the end of July to avoid economic calamity.
The Honolulu City Council and the Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, in the meantime, are moving forward with a resolution to approve travel sooner so long as negative testing is achieved within three days before arrival. Testing is improving. For example, Jeff was tested here on Kauai on Saturday, and received the (negative) results later that day.
The Honolulu City Council is moving forward with a resolution urging the state to make an exception to current 14-day rules so long as visitors are tested for COVID-19 within three days before their trip.
Josh Green says the state is developing a plan and hopes it will be unveiled this week.
We expect the Hawaii proposal will follow Alaska’s. Earlier this month, Alaska asked that visitors test within 72 hours of travel and present negative results upon their arrival.
Those who don’t test before arrival in Alaska, must still self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.
In Alaska, there are different rules for returning residents, although we don’t know for sure if that will be the case here in Hawaii. Green said he is considering exceptions for Hawaii residents taking brief trips to the mainland, as he believes the changes of developing the disease could be less.
Depending on how quickly the state moves to implement a plan, it could be ready to launch as soon as mid-July.