We’ve written before about how cautious Hawaii has been in allowing tourism to start back up. With just 653 confirmed cases of COVID-19, they tie, at 17, with Montana and Wyoming for the next-to-least amount of deaths in a state (Alaska has had 10 deaths). So it’s understandable that Governor David Ige is hesitant in allowing visitors who could introduce more cases of the virus to the state.
But Ige knows they can’t isolate for forever, especially when their state depends on tourism for so much of its money.
Ige recently spoke with Hawaii News Now, where he explained why he’s so far refused to set specific dates for when he’ll allow tourism to begin again on the islands, as well as why he may allow international travelers to visit before those from the U.S. mainland.
Ige outlines 4 phases of restarting travel:
- Creating an alternate screen/tracking process to replace the quarantine they currently have in place (and boy, do they!)
Throughout this time of quarantine, Hawaii’s residents were not allowed to travel from island to island without a 2-week quarantine. However, there’s good news – the state’s inter-island quarantine will end on June 16th.
Domestic & International Travel
Ige suggests that Hawaii may welcome back tourists from places such as Korea and Japan before the mainland. Said Ige:
“I looked at the stats yesterday the United States as a country had 15 [or] 20,000 new cases, and you look to Japan, all of Japan had 33 new cases and all of Korea had 35 new cases, so from my perspective, the travel bubbles are establishing corridors to communities with similar virus risk and similar virus activity.”
Ige also won’t say exactly when he plans to open Hawaii’s doors to tourism, be it domestic or international:
“That’s the challenge. Everybody wants to just have a plan, set dates and drive through it. The reality is the triggers are going to be based on the virus activity in those communities at that point in time,” the Governor said. “We err on the side of protecting the public health. That’s what we do in an emergency. That’s what we do for hurricanes and tsunamis.”
Replacing the Quarantine
Obviously, no one visiting Hawaii for tourism wants to have to quarantine for 2 weeks when they arrive. With that, Ige reports that the state is working with Hawaii’s Congressional delegation to enhance present TSA protocols (I’m guessing this is one of the [*cough*] very expensive [*cough*] enhancements), as well as figure out what the best system would be for tracking outside visitors’ origin points.
I’m sure that some people, both Hawaiians and those who want to visit, would be delighted if Ige opened Hawaii’s doors “yesterday.” But he’s is taking a stand of the Hawaiian peoples’ health over its economy. As someone who is also approaching the world very carefully while the Novel 2019 Coronavirus is very much still out there, I respect Ige’s decision.
Click here to see 2 snippets of the interview Governor Ige did with Hawaii News Now.
*** Feature Photo: dronepicr/flickr
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary