During Pandemic, Visitors Continue to Come to Hawaii Despite Not Being Wanted

By Kurt Stolz on 15 April 2020
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People crossing a street in Honolulu in pre-pandemic days

The State of Hawaii asked visitors not to come, but some aren’t listening.

Last week, John Monahan, president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, sent a letter to various travel-related publications, Frequent Business Traveler included, asking them not to promote travel to Hawaii.

“We humbly ask that you and/or your publication(s) refrain from publishing any stories about Hawai’i that might encourage people to travel to the islands,” he wrote in the letter.

While travel magazines and newsletters have by and large heeded the call, some travelers still haven’t gotten the message.  Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines both offer essential air service for cargo and critical travel to and from the islands, while Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines offer multiple frequencies to all four neighbor islands which have limited medical resources should the coronavirus spread.

has temporarily suspended almost all flights to the state, but other airlines including Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines continue to operate some flights.

The state’s governor, David Ige, asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to exempt Hawaii from the minimum air services requirement in the coronavirus economic stimulus bill passed by Congress.

“We look forward to a time when we can once again welcome visitors to our islands. In the meantime, please respect our wishes to minimize the passengers traveling to Hawai’I,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, 691 people arrived in Hawaii including 164 visitors and 205 residents, far fewer than the 30,000 one year prior but still more visitors than the state would like.

The state’s governor announced a mandatory two-week self-quarantine for any out-of-state visitors as well as any inter-island travelers effective April 1, but some travelers are breaking quarantine.   Doing that could earn the person a $5,000 fine or one year in prison, or both.

The state reported 13 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 517.

“It’s very clear that we are making progress but as we’ve said many times before, this is a marathon. This is not a sprint,” the governor said at a news conference Tuesday.

“We are flattening the curve. That does not mean we can let our guards down.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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