Commercial tour permits suspended amid coronavirus outbreak


The Department of Land and Natural Resources is stepping up efforts to stop all commercial ocean and trail tours, including a suspension of commercial permits for hundreds of tour operators until further notice as coronavirus cases increase.

Businesses like dinner cruises, whale-watching tours and surf schools are being told to suspend operations in state ocean waters as the governor calls on tourists to stop visiting Hawaii for 15 the next 15 days.

Councilman Ikaika Anderson said businesses should comply with these measures as health officials try to get a handle on the spread of coronavirus.

Anderson said, “So to those companies who are ignoring the proclamation and also ignoring county ordinance, again knock it off, stop doing this.”

Not all businesses are ignoring the state’s call to suspend operations, Timothy Lara with Hawaiian Paddle Sports said he began taking action even before measures such as social distancing and increased disinfection for weeks now.

Lara said, “We definitely took a pretty big hit all the way through I think may we had people cancelling we had to lay off all of our management team as well as all of our guides.”

Lara said he stopped taking clients as soon as the governor requested a halt from visitors.

“If you made the decision to come here after the governor asked you to come here I am sorry we can’t take you out and that just comes to ethics,” Lara said. “If people choose to come here and we still take them out and have an experience then we are rewarding that bad behavior and it’s going to send a signal that it is ok to still come here.”

He said the sooner people adapt to the changes promoted by coronavirus, the sooner paradise will be back open.

The DLNR said people who refuse to comply with the closure of parks and suspension of businesses could be cited or arrested.

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