Maui and Kauai move forward with resort bubble plan

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — With the reopening of tourism pushed back to October at the earliest, Maui and Kauai counties are moving forward with a plan to welcome tourists by having what’s known as resort bubbles. Visitors will be allowed to move around as long as they stay within the resort.

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Resorts would have to apply for a permit with the county and be able to show a comprehensive plan on how to keep both visitors and residents safe.

“Resorts have to show the burden of proof that they have the ability and process and systems in place to keep their associates healthy and safe, as well as their guests, and most importantly, our people,” said Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami.

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino says his county is working on a similar plan and a few hotels are preparing to move forward. They say different layers of protective measures have to be in place for the resort bubble to work. Among them, a tracking device known as Aqua in which visitors would wear wristbands that let authorities know if they leave the resort.

“This technology is also embedded whereas if somebody tried to take this band off, it will also ping the resort security as well as our local law enforcement,” said Kawakami.

Kawakami says the county has been testing the technology and it showed great promise. Both mayors say that a lot of details still need to be worked out. As for the safety of the resort workers, the plan is to have the same groups working together and to have them stay at the resort.

“I would like to have grouping so when it is time for contact tracing, it’s a lot easier and a lot safer and they don’t go home and spread it to their families,” said Victorino.

The mayors point out that the resorts would have to pay for the cost of all the additional safety measures and technology. And be able to take care of guests and workers who get infected.

“The resorts would have to designate areas for people that may become ill, to isolate and get treatment, and have all of their food and supplies dropped off,” said Kawakami.

Designated areas will also be needed to quarantine close contacts. No date is set as to how soon this can start. Mayors point out that this is still in the research and development stage.

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