Gov. Ige weighing mandatory Covid19 pre-board tests
By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva
It’s another big blow to its tourism industry, honeymooners and anyone who owns vacation property in Hawaii. Or, in fact, anyone dreaming of visiting the islands. Just as things were looking hopeful, Gov. David Ige extends mandatory 14-day quarantining of arriving visitors to Sept. 1, 2020. And that might possibly change.
Prior to his new declaration, the governor was toying with forgoing the quarantine for visitors who could produce proof of negative Covid19 tests.
How did that work out? Obviously not well. Ige now says he’s delaying the pre-testing and opting for quarantining because too many states are showing surges in coronavirus. He says he is also aware of how this is impacting businesses that rely on tourism. Which are many since tourism is Hawaii’s major money maker.
Pros and cons
A recent survey shows that residents are siding with the governor on the delay in reopening tourism. The University of Public Policy Center polled more than 600 residents and found eight in 10 don’t want tourists to return right now. They also trust government to keep them safe.
Locals like Chef Beverly Gannon, of Gannon’s Wailea Restaurant and hali’imaile General Store , says, “As much as we hate it I think the majority of people think it is the right move.”
Vacation home owners and rental properties hard hit
However those of us with vacation homes or condos in the islands are on the fence. One couple who recently purchased a place on the Big Island hasn’t been able to fly there once since the pandemic erupted.
They were heading to Hawaii in August until Ige changed his mind about allowing pre-arrival Covid19 tests in lieu of quarantines. She says, “I am disappointed they extended the quarantine but I can understand why, as they want to protect their residents from the hoards of Angelenos that might sneak Covid into the Big Island.”
“Our numbers are off the charts and Hawaii’s are minimal, which is exactly where they want to keep it. I do think that they should have allowed the testing for people who actually own residences (like us) because where we are is so spread out that you can practically quarantine by just being there! “
Ige defends decision
“We did believe it would be in the best interests of everyone here in Hawaii to delay the start of the program,” Ige said, in a news conference at the state Capitol building.
“I also want to make it clear that we still believe in the pre-travel testing program. We will continue to take actions necessary to implement it safely.”
Ige’s quarantine measure, which began in March, is responsible for a huge drop in the usual number of visitors from about 30,000 daily to fewer than 400.
Eliminating travel restrictions t to inter-island travel ― which the governor did last month ― was the first step taken toward ushering in the return of the tourism sector in Hawaii.
No happy hula hands in Honolulu
The Honolulu City Council unanimously passed a resolution asking the governor to consider delaying the implementation of the change in travel restrictions in order to fortify certain preventative aspects, like testing and contact tracing.
The resolution also suggested that the state implement a requirement for a second negative coronavirus test, taken within seven days of the first negative test, in order to avoid quarantining.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell recently cast doubt on the feasibility of the state’s plan. He no longer thinks allowing visitors to avoid quarantine is a good idea.”
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and members of the Hawaii County Council also spoke out against state’s plan. Each are urging the governor to reconsider its implementation.
“The current plan for testing visitors 72 hours before arriving in the State of Hawaiʻi is inadequate. It will increase the exposure of Covid19 19 to airlines, hotels, and service industry employees,” according to the Hawaii County Council. “These are our families, friends, and neighbors.”
However you look at it, it’s a sad situation. While not allowing visitors may help keep residents Covid19-free it also causes a major impact on their economic welfare. Not to mention the loss of airline revenue.
Stay tune to Pavlus Travel for the latest travel and cruise news as well as the best deals available for future vacations. Pavlus also has great deals on Hawaii to book when and if the governor relaxes the quarantine rules (call 800-528-9300).