When and how will Hawaii re-open to visitors? Officials are trying to answer those questions as the state slowly lifts more restrictions. A resolution at the Honolulu City Council provides some ideas.
Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi looks at 3 areas where she says we need to do a better job in addressing. One of them is restarting the visitor industry. In her resolution, Tsuneyoshi wants hotel accommodations and inter-island travel to open up to residents first. She also wants to see screening procedures in place for travelers and require visitors test negative for COVID-19 before coming to Hawaii.
“As we know our 14-day quarantine for visitors is not working as we saw the spike last weekend of not only the visitor category but intended resident category, which that really needs to be clearly defined,” said Tsuneyoshi.
While he continues to work with the FAA and the airline industry, Governor David Ige says the state doesn’t have control of all the parameters when it comes to travel.
“Certainly we are looking at other measures that would be required in order to reopen up and really drop the mandatory quarantine,” said Governor Ige.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green says he’s been working for a month on a plan where people would need to get tested 3 days prior to coming to Hawaii.
“That’s absolutely a necessity because if we don’t have such a plan, we wouldn’t know if we could contain it,” said Green.
Green tells us the 14-day quarantine mandate has greatly reduced the number of visitors flying in. But he says the focus should be making sure there is very little, if any, virus coming into the state when we start seeing 10- to 15-thousand people a day.
“Can we successfully get people tested before coming to Hawaii so we can take on a large number of people? And I’m absolutely confident that we can. I would say that is going to be the latter half of June or the beginning of July if I had to guess,” he said.
Tsuneyoshi also believes it’s time to rethink the economy and move away from our reliance on tourism and focus more on sustainable agriculture.