Public officials in Hawaii are advising against non-essential travel to the islands at this time.
Amidst a surge in Covid cases and hospitalizations in major parts of the archipelago, Governor David Ige advised potential visitors on Monday that “now’s not a good time to visit Hawaii.”
Travel Warning In Hawaii: Only Essential Services Until End Of October
In his statement to the public earlier this week, Governor Ige asked that people limit their movement on the islands to essential businesses only, in order to slow the spread of the delta variant throughout the community. As Covid spreads and hospitals fill up, the state is trying to prevent a statewide lockdown.
“I’m asking that residents and visitors alike to reduce travel to Hawaii to essential business activities only,” the governor said.
He’s also advising that travel on the islands to be reduced and curtailed until the end of October.
For those who have planned upcoming vacations and weekend getaways to Hawaii, the governor is asking that people reschedule their trips to later in the year.
No Official Statewide Shutdown Yet
Governor Ige hasn’t officially announced a statewide shutdown, however. He cited a warning he gave at the beginning of the pandemic to clarify.
“Last year in March, when I first asked for visitors to postpone travel to the islands, we saw a 60% reduction in the traffic to Hawaii,” Ige said. “And then, certainly, ordering the mandatory quarantine of all incoming visitors reduced travel to the islands by 99.5%, essentially 100% of travelers.”
He did state that hospitals are “at capacity”, with ICU beds full in a number of hospitals throughout the state. They are currently working with hospitals to expand care. The highest Covid cases are on the islands of O’ahu and Maui. Honolulu County reported 370 new cases yesterday with 9,000 active cases in the county, which is an all-time high.
While mandatory lockdowns want to be prevented, the governor said that a statewide lockdown “is on the table” if hospitals continue to be stretched too thin.
Car Rentals And Restaurants Limited
Lots of restaurants and non-essential services are currently restricted throughout the islands, and there’s a limit of rental cars available. Considering all of the restrictions right now, “tourists will not have the typical kind of holiday that they expect to get when they visit Hawaii,” the governor said.
Current Travel Restrictions
Since July, all fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S. have been able to visit Hawaii without restrictions, as per the CDC guidance. Tight restrictions, such as mandatory quarantine and PCR testing at the beginning of the pandemic helped keep cases considerably low throughout Hawaii. Mandatory Covid testing was lifted on July 8th for vaccinated travelers from in or outside of the state.
No Big Group Gatherings On Honolulu
The governor’s warning comes after Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s announcement that all large indoor and outdoor gatherings will be suspended on the island of O’ahu. Starting Wednesday, indoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum 10 people, and 25 maximum for outdoor gatherings. This includes weddings, sporting events and art exhibits. The restrictions apply to both residents and visitors on O’ahu.
With hospitalization rates significantly increasing, officials are worried about the safety and accessibility of the community.
Honolulu’s city emergency management director, Hiro Toiya, cited a modeling tool from the Georgia Institute of Technology that explains the impact of large gatherings in places where cases are high.
Given the number of reported cases on O’ahu at this time, it illustrates that there’s a 20% chance of an individual will have the virus in a group of 10 people. A group of 100 people means that there’s a 90% chance of someone being infected.
“So when you’re looking at how transmissible delta is, we really got to control these large gatherings,” Toiya said. “The status quo is not working, and it’s not acceptable.”
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com