In what is a sweeping action, the Governor of Hawaii, David Ige, has ordered a mandatory 14-day quarantine for everyone arriving in Hawaii.
This mandate includes both tourists and returning residents.
Hawaii Will Quarantine Tourists
The governor’s order was the first of its kind in the nation. Governor Ige’s efforts (announced Saturday) seek to slow the escalation of coronavirus cases in his state.
A Reversal of Recent Efforts
Through the first two months of the year, Hawaii tourism had experienced only slight coronavirus dampening. As recently as last week, Hawaii was seeing bookings holding strong, in contrast to many tourist destinations nationwide.
That’s partly due to the fact that Hawaii had its first reported case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 6th. That person had been a passenger on the Grand Princess when it visited Mexico Feb. 11-21. He flew back home to Hawaii. Afterwards, he fell ill. After seeing a doctor and it was determined he had contracted the virus.
Until the governor’s announcement, many bigger hotels in Hawaii were putting out specials in the market in an effort to drive business. Airlines were featuring cheap flights to Hawaii; drawing many visitors from the West Coast.
Details of the Hawaii Tourists Quarantine
Under Governor Ige’s emergency proclamation, returning residents are to self-quarantine in their homes, with visitors ordered to stay in their hotel rooms or rented accommodations. They are allowed to leave only to seek medical care.
According to the Governor’s order, failure to follow the order would be a classified as a misdemeanor crime. Breaking this law is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to a imprisonment for one year, or both.
The governor’s mandate will go into effect on Thursday, March 26th. Governor Ige said the delay is designed to provide tourists time to cancel or postpone their trips. Ige stated he hoped they would postpone or cancel their travel plans.
The Hawaii Department of Health on Saturday reported 48 cases of coronavirus in the state, an increase of 11 from the day before. A majority of the state’s cases are linked to travel, according to Governor Ige.
“The threat of Covid-19 is extremely serious, and it requires extreme actions,” he said in a broadcasted news conference.
These are unprecedented times. The actions we’re announcing may seem extreme to some, & we know that they will have negative effects on our economy. But we are confident that taking aggressive actions now will allow us to have a quicker recovery when this crisis is over. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/shduU2fhFi
— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) March 18, 2020
What Hawaii is doing is akin to the tightened restrictions we are seeing in many European and Southeast Asian nations. These nations are increasing restrictions on their own citizens and banning foreigners outright after many countries this past week reported a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases. With over 312,000 reported cases worldwide and more than 13,400 deaths (at the time of writing) the pandemic seems on a rampant course.
Closing of Hawaii Beaches
In recent days, all county beaches were closed in Hawaii County. The closing, which took effect Saturday, March 21st, closed all county beach and shoreline parks, public shoreline access easements, public open space shoreline and coastal lands, undeveloped county shoreline and coastal lands, to public access and use until further notice.
The governor has been urged to close all beaches (especially the famous Waikiki Beach) to prevent further public exposures.
It certainly is a sign of the times when Hawaii turns away visitors. Always known for it’s ‘Aloha Spirit,’ Hawaii has been a favorite destination of travelers all over the world; especially so for Americans. I was actually surprised that the tourist industry encouraged visitors to come to Hawaii during the past few weeks as the world reeled from the expanding pandemic of the coronavirus.
Although they won’t be prevented from boarding a flight to Hawaii, visitors to the ’50th State’ may be restricted to their hotels during their vacation. That’s because most vacations to Hawaii are for less than 14 days (the required quarantine period under Hawaii Governor Ige’s new mandate.
It’s probably just a matter of time before every state takes a similar stance. Meanwhile President Trump May Ban Domestic Flights to Curb Coronavirus
When Hawaii returns as a viable destination; it’s a true paradise. I recommend comparing these Airline Travel Credit Cards to start looking at now to help you plan that trip!
What do you think of Hawaii’s decision to quarantine tourists upon arrival?
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