Hawaii ’s Governor David Ige stated yesterday that the Aloha State is unlikely to reopen to transpacific travelers on October 1, as had been previously planned.
Speaking with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser , Ige said that his office will release a revised timeframe for when Hawaii might begin accepting transpacific arrivals again later this week.
The Governor explained that he had met with travel industry leaders during this past weekend to discuss the steps that will be necessary for bringing outside visitors back to Hawaii.
“Just talking with many in the industry, it will probably not be October 1st, but in the next few days we will be providing a better plan for the scheduling of what those dates would look like,” he said.
Ige highlighted Hawaii’s new, digital Safe Travels application (mandatory for visitors), which was launched at the start of September as one of those steps toward safely restarting tourism.
Other protocols, such as a pre-travel testing option in lieu of quarantine, will help streamline the process of preventing new infection from entering the state; but Ige said that the islands’ hotels and tourism-related businesses indicated to him that they’ll likely need at least a month to prepare for reopening.
This will be the third time that the Governor has pushed back Hawaii’s reopening date in light of COVID-19 conditions and delayed the launch of its travel pre-testing program, which was originally scheduled to go into effect on August 1.
Addressing the tightened restrictions currently imposed in Honolulu, which saw a surge of COVID-19 cases in August, Ige said that he understands residents’ frustrations with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s order limiting outdoor activities to individuals only, but he also supports the Mayor’s decision.
“The Mayor really felt that there needed to be a bright line that they could enforce on beaches, parks and trails, and decided that it should be individuals,” Ige said. The Governor himself has taken to going for solo runs around the State Capitol.
“It is about changing our behavior in a way that helps us fight the virus. And you know, part of these are for short durations so that we can reduce the number of new cases that we’re seeing,” he said.