As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to climb in Hawaii, officials are implementing new restrictions that could impact tourists coming to the island.
Hawaii has had nearly 16,000 new infections in August and reported a record high 1,035 newly confirmed cases on Friday.
Last week, Hawaii’s governor asked that tourists stop coming to the islands but did not enact any formal restrictions on travel.
New Restrictions On Big Island
Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth announced new rules on Friday that limits the number of people who can gather indoors or out.
Roth’s original proposal included closing beaches and parks, but instead, the new mandate limits group sizes to no more than 10 people, and groups must maintain 20 feet of separation. Sports practices can only take place in pods of 10, so games will be canceled.
Tents and canopies are prohibited in parks and on beaches, and all outdoor pavilion rentals have been canceled.
Roth said enforcement efforts will be increased, and police can issue $250 fines to those who violate the emergency order. In addition, masks are required indoors, and in crowded spaces outdoors.
“With an average of 132 cases a day, the Delta variant has undoubtedly swept through our community, and has begun to inundate our hospitals and health care systems,” Roth said.
Roth said health officials report the island has “reached a tipping point where further inundation could lead our hospitals to an inability to adequately care for non-COVID trauma patients.”
“There are many steps we can all take to slow the spread and keep our community safe,”
Maui and Honolulu Considering New Restrictions
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is waiting for state approval for his proposed restrictions.
For now, he’s asking residents only to do essential activities for 21 days and asking visitors to voluntarily stay in their resort bubbles and not visit Hana.
“We’re appealing to visitors and residents to make these responsible choices and avoid risky behavior,” said Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz.
“Please consider voluntarily restricting activities, essential needs only like grocery shopping, doctor visits. Avoid gatherings, especially indoor gatherings with family and friends that are outside of your household.”
Victorino warned that if cases do not decrease in the coming weeks, more restrictions would be put in place, such as limiting bar operation hours and reducing or canceling elective medical procedures to increase hospital capacity.
In Honolulu, Mayor Rick Blangiardi is considering implementing a mandatory coronavirus vaccine or testing requirement to visit restaurants.
“We were going to go ahead with a vaccine passport, and we’re prepared to execute bold ideas,” Blangiardi said on Friday.
“I just don’t want that to get lost on this pending discussion with the governor and the other mayors right now, to be sure that when we do make an announcement that we’re not going to say this and the next day or two it’s something else. It’s very fluid.”
County Mayors Are Asking For More Restrictions, But Governor Says Hawaii Will Not Lockdown
County mayors met with Gov. David Ige on Friday to discuss the possibility of further restrictions, looking at various policies such as voluntary lockdowns or vaccine passports for restaurant patrons.
Ige said on Friday that if case counts continue to rise “and we push the hospitals across that line then we will have to go to more extreme measures, lockdowns and potentially shutting businesses.”
However, Ige took to social media on Sunday night to confirm that the state will not lockdown.
“I want to clear the record that there are currently no plans to shut down,” Ige said in a post on Facebook and Twitter. “All posts on social media and being distributed by other means are not true.”
For now, Ige is asking people to voluntarily avoid gatherings for four weeks and avoid non-essential travel to the state.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories