Two weeks ago, I wrote that Hawaii was planning to reopen to visitors on August 1, 2020. In that post, I posted questions and answers that addressed Hawaii’s reopening for visitors. If you missed the questions and answers, you can read it here. Hawaii Governor David Ige held a meeting with Hawaii mayors last Thursday. There was real concern about the increase of Covid-19 cases in Hawaii and the explosion of cases on the mainland.
The Governor’s Statement
Direct from the governor’s office website is this quote from Governor David Ige on July 9th:
Governor Ige’s Statement About Ongoing COVID-19 Planning with Mayors
“The mayors and I have had productive meetings this week about the pre-travel testing program. We are assessing the current situation in Hawaiʻi and on the mainland, and we’ll make an announcement when we are satisfied that the plans will protect the health and safety of our residents and guests.”
Governor Ige is concerned about an uptick in Covid-19 cases in Hawaii. He is alarmed about the trend of new record cases on the mainland.
The chart below shows arrivals by air to Hawaii. Air traffic to Hawaii is about dead.
The Economic Toll
The number one source of income in Hawaii is tourism which has been virtually shut off. Everything from hotels and restaurants to local farmers has been shut down or operating under a reduced capacity. For the airlines, Hawaii represents a major, year-long, high revenue market. There may be businesses that will not survive the closure to tourists.
For the residents of Hawaii, this is a living nightmare. Those currently receiving unemployment benefits have these concerns:
- The CARES Act increase of $600.00 per week benefit expires on July 31, 2020,
- Unemployment claims run for a year but the benefits only pay for 26 weeks,
- Without a Federal extension, unemployment benefits won’t continue after the 26th payment and
- Filing a new claim requires a recent quarterly wage history to qualify.
People Want Answers
The question that people ask me the most is when they can go to Hawaii. My last response was August 1st but they may be in doubt. The problem with visiting Hawaii is that it is a long-distance destination that requires advance planning and reservations. People that have current reservations are in limbo not knowing if they need to cancel or not. Just look at this tweet from one of those planning on a visit to Hawaii:
The tweet from Roman Gokhman pretty well sums up what many people are thinking – just tell me what I need to know and tell me now.
Like many of you, I too have plans to visit Hawaii this year. I also understand that the state of Covid-19 in the United States is out of control. Travel as we used to know it will not return to any kind of normal until there is a proven vaccine for Covid-19. Travel Codex will continue to monitor the visitor status in Hawaii and will update this story as new details come forth.