Excited as visitors and many if not most residents are about the return of Hawaii travel, lack of an essential, comprehensive marketing and arrivals campaign has resulted in visitors not knowing what to do. The state’s failure is also resulting in unneeded frustration for residents.
These police actions have been a result of not wearing masks or failure of social distancing, according to the Honolulu Police Department. This has already occurred in the past five days, since the pre-travel testing program allowed visitors to the islands without mandatory quarantine, for the first time since March.
Honolulu’s mayor is frustrated, and while not specifically pointing fingers said he was “Discouraged by the fact that our partners in the visitor industry have not started to educate visitors.” Adding, that this is “Going to create resentment between local and visitors.”
Some are suggesting a video played on all flights to Hawaii delineating the otherwise uber confusing island by island rules.
Beat of Hawaii: The mask policy is mostly the same on all of our islands. If you leave your room, house, or condo, mask up at all times if you are 5 or older, because you can’t guarantee there will always be 6′ social distancing. That means wearing a mask when you walk around your resort or on our streets, while visiting stores, going to the gym or beach, and dining at restaurants. Exceptions can vary by island. For example, Oahu requires masks even when you are with your family. If in doubt, wear a mask. It keeps everyone safer, both visitors and residents, so we can all work together and enjoy Hawaii.
It should be remembered, however, that visitors may in some ways be actually less of a concern than residents that gather in larger groups and have not themselves been tested one or more times the way visitors have.
John W. wrote this comment: “All Hawaii has to do is set up a good testing program, keep the mask and social distancing message going and we would be in a great position to get through this as well as possible. Nothing is going to be 100% full proof, you cannot totally eliminate the conspiracy nuts and some people just don’t care about anyone but themselves…….it’s up to the rest of us. Aloha to all.”
Hawaii Lodging’s Mufi Hannemann said, “I think what the test does from a perception point of view and the science ― at least no one is going to come in here without being able to verify some shape or form from this test that they are COVID-free.” He said that hotels have implemented education programs for guests. We have not heard what accommodations are doing in that regard, but please let us know.
While the lieutenant governor said that the state is doing the best job possible to inform visitors, a quick visit to the state’s visitor website paints a different picture. There we found little actual information, and nothing island-by-island to help. The site’s COVID page was largely related to testing procedures and timing, and the only a mention to “Socially distance, wear masks covering nose and mouth.” Green said, however, “We have made it very clear that upon entry that everyone has to wear a mask while they’re in Hawaii. They get instructions from our National Guard.”
Honolulu’s mayor and gubernatorial aspirant Caldwell believes “It’s incumbent on the visitor industry if they want to spread aloha, they have to make sure their guests are following all the required rules.” BOH: Our take is that the responsibility starts first with the state, followed by education at the stakeholder level.
Those of you who have already arrived and those who are coming, please let us know how you think we are doing here in Hawaii, and what suggestions you have for what is needed.