The governor says pushing back the reopening of tourism for another month will only help the state be more prepared. The delay puts the state’s economy at greater risk, but the governor says his only choice was to maintain public health as the main priority.
Conditions might not necessarily be any better in about a month from now but the governor says at least the state can work on what it can do to make it safer for tourism to reopen.
Gov. David Ige says moving the date to reopen tourism from August 1 to September 1 was truly a difficult decision. But the combination of rising cases here and on the mainland, and the decrease in testing capacity was like a perfect storm that led to the decision.
“Just reminded us of how fragile the entire situation is here in the islands and across the country, and certainly it was a wake up call,” said Ige.
He says travelers will still be required to show proof of a negative Covid test 72 hours prior to departure or go on 14-day quarantine. The extra month will allow the state to increase its testing and contact tracing ability, as well as ramp up quarantine enforcement.
“We want to make sure that the 14-day quarantine means something, so we continue working with the counties to improve and close the gaps and the loopholes that we see,” said Ige.
He adds that he will soon announce a partnership with two companies that will also help with welcoming visitors safely.
“We’re talking about engaging the entire hospitality industry, access to tests is one, improving the airports, thermal screening at the airports, asking the hospitality industry to become part of the public health network,” he said.
Ige says the responsibility is not just on the tourism industry. Everyone in the state has to do their part by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding large gatherings.
“I am encouraging every business organization to redouble the efforts to emphasize that we all can make a direct impact on reopening our economy if we all can assume that we’re positive and reduce interaction,” said Ige.