Let Florida, California, Spain, or Italy reopen their travel and tourism industry. Beaches in Florida, California, Spain or Italy can be testing grounds, but not Hawaii.
This seems to be the strategy by lawmakers in the Aloha State.
There are only 35 active coronavirus casases left in the State of Hawaii. There are no new infections. The 1.1416 million residents in Hawaii are safe and should be proud.
The layed back attitude most likely contributed to the success Hawaii can be credited for in beating the virus.
Is tourism now back? Hawaii is not promoting tourism, and 253 visitors arriving yesterday are not close to the 30,000 that were welcomed with open arms every day before.
Yesterday a total of 966 people arrived in Hawaii. The 14 day quarantine order to include interisland and off island travelers (residents and visitors) remains in place.
Arriving visitors are required to stay in their hotel rooms and are not allowed to leave their room or suite, or go to the pool (If the pool is still open). Restaurants are only open for take-out food.
Forget the beaches, forget attractions, and forget to stay in a vacation home, an AIRBNB, or “pay a so-called friend”. All of this is all illegal when in quarantine, and visitors get arrested, fined, and put on the plane home with a criminal record.
Not many hotels are open. Most shops are closed and Waikiki feels more like a ghost town. Bars and restaurants are closed, beaches are now open with “social distancing laws” enforced.
There is no sitting on benches.
On the other hand flights and accommodation are cheap. Trying to escape the watchful eyes of police and the national guard is always a good possibility for visitors taking advantage of inexpensive rates and with no intention to obey the laws. The price may be a $5000 fine and up to 1 year in cramped county jails.
Once out of quarantine a 15 minute work out with at the beach may get a visitor back in shape:
In the United States, Hawaii seems to be in the best position to re-launch travel and tourism. With 35 cases and no increase in infections, COVID-19 has almost been defeated. The curve is flat, there are plenty of hospital beds available.
Hawaii Governor Ige, Honolulu Mayor Caldwell credits the cooperation of all citizens obeying the “Stay at Home” rule.
Currently one cannot enter a home, a shop, or a park without wearing a mask.
Opening the floodgates for tourism would be a welcoming message to the currently idle travel industry, to airlines and resorts that are mostly closed. Tourist arrivals may immediately ease the number of a record unemployment.
Just 3 months ago Hawaii hardly had unemployment, now the numbers are the worst in the nation.
Opening the floodgates for tourism may also re-introduce COVID-19 to the fragile island chain.
Hawaii authorities introduced a 4 phase plan to bring the State back online. Opening shops and restaurants are in the planning for June.
Tourism is not part of the current phase and may not be introduced until July or August.
According to industry experts it will take 6 weeks for visitors to come back in any sizable numbers after authorities decide to reopen. While Florida’s and California’s beaches are already becoming tourist destinations again, Waikiki Beach, Kaanapali, or Hanalei has to wait.
This is a good move according to travel safety experts, and it appears the Governor and the mayors know this.
Once tourism opens it will take at least 2 weeks before the effects are known. Hawaii doesn’t want to be part of such a testing ground and will be studying the situation in other states, in Spain and Italy. If reopening works there it may work in the conservative-minded Aloha State.
It’s a great move when it comes to keeping the people in Hawaii safe, but it may mean a slow suicide for the already idle economy. Hawaii’s economy depends on the tourism industry.