I love Hawaii. Just the name alone makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and I’ve been fortunate to have traveled there dozens of times and been to all the major islands multiple times. It’s now my family’s favorite getaway because it’s beautiful, warm, there’s great food, it’s rich in traditions and the people are welcoming. But unfortunately, this is not the time to go.
That’s why on Sunday, I wrote a post entitiled How To Check the Hospitalization Numbers of Your Destination and Why it Might Be Time to Cancel Your Trip to Hawaii. The post was well-received and parts of it were picked up by Honolulu’s Star Advertiser.
Sadly, things have gotten worse in Hawaii and according to the New York Times: “Since July 1, Hawaii has experienced a sharp rise in new cases. The state’s seven-day average of new case reports peaked at 729 a day on Aug. 19, more than double the state’s previous high last fall, according to a New York Times database. In the past two weeks, new cases increased by 37 percent in Honolulu County, and hospitalizations more than doubled.”
So I’m doing my part to help Hawaii, which is why I’ve created this post, with 10 good reasons to postpone your trip to Hawaii. Note: I’m not saying you should cancel altogether; just postpone your Hawaiian vacation because Hawaii will be back. It’s just going to take some time.
1. Hospitals Are Full
According to the New York Times article above, “Dr. James Ireland, the chief of the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, said that over the past couple of weeks, island hospitals had seen a net increase of 10 to 14 patients a day. He warned that “very, very soon,” hospitals would not have the capacity to care for any more patients and that emergency services were close to “maxed out.”
Hawaii only has so many hospital beds so when they say they’re at a breaking point, it’s time to listen.
2. The Governor Warns “Now is Not a Good Time to Travel to Hawaii”
When the local government starts telling people not to come to Hawaii, then you know the situation is dire. Hawaii thrives on tourism but yesterday, Gov. Ige made the announcement at a media briefing, noting that, “Our hospitals are reaching capacity and our ICUs are filling up. Now is not a good time to travel to Hawaii.” Gov. Ige added, “It will take six to seven weeks to see significant change in the number of COVID cases. It is a risky time to be traveling right now. Everyone, residents and visitors alike, should reduce travel to essential business activities only.”
3. They’re Suspending Large Gatherings
The mayor of Honolulu tweeted yesterday: “#Covid19 cases are up dramatically, and our healthcare workers are being pushed beyond their limits. Beginning August 25, we will be suspending all large gatherings for 4 weeks. This includes trade shows, conventions, concerts and other live events.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a big hotel conference at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in October. Normally, I wouldn’t even hesitate to go but this time, I asked the conference organizers if I could wait until the week before to RSVP. I doubt it’s even going to happen now.
#Covid19 cases are up dramatically, and our healthcare workers are being pushed beyond their limits. Beginning August 25, we will be suspending all large gatherings for 4 weeks. This includes trade shows, conventions, concerts and other live events.
— Mayor Rick Blangiardi (@MayorRickHNL) August 23, 2021
4. The Locals Don’t Want You
This is nothing really new in some areas but the absence of tourists over the past year really changed life for locals. Imagine living in Hawaii and finally experiencing less traffic and less crowded beaches, being able to go to a restaurant and get your favorite dish in a jif, without the place being overrun by tourists and not having to fight for a wave on the shores of Waikiki? If Hawaii is paradise, imagine what it’s like without the tourists. Of course, tourism greatly benefits Hawaii’s economy but not when their healthcare system is being stretched to the limit.
5. It’s Crazy Expensive
Island life is almost always more expensive because everything has to be shipped in. But if you thought Hawaii was expensive pre-Covid, then you’re in for a serious case of sticker shock, especially for hotels, car rentals and ride shares.
6. You Can’t Get A Car Rental
If you’re going to Hawaii during a busy time, you should know that you can’t even get a car rental. And if you can, you’re going to pay top dollar. Talia James-Armand, Edmunds’ associate director of public relations and communications told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “finding a three-row SUV for five nights in the Aloha State became an impossibility. Her party settled for a Dodge Grand Caravan, but it came at a cost. Five days with the car cost $2,100, James-Armand said, or $400 a day, compared with about $90 when she’d taken a trip to the Big Island in 2018.”
7. Restaurants, Bars and Gyms are Limited
It was already difficult to get a reservation at a restaurant when indoor capacity was set at 75% but under the new stricter restrictions, restaurants, bars and gyms are limited to 50% indoor capacity. Good luck finding great restaurants to eat at, especially on the fly.
8. There’s No Aloha Spirit
After I wrote my post on Sunday, I had multiple readers submit comments, including this one from Maryetta, which I think sums up the current situation for most locals: “Thank you for your comments regarding travelling to Hawaii right now. I’m a resident of Maui, and I can tell you, our local population is feeling extremely stressed right now. Our hospital is at capacity and infections are on the rise, seemingly uncontrolled. Our small, very remote, communities in Hana, Molokai and Lanai are starting to have clusters in their communities as well, which is really scary as they have no long term acute care available to them. Residents have been asked to hunker down, stay home, don’t gather and “do our part” while tourists keep flocking here unabated, large gatherings, packed resorts/beaches. Many of us are feeling upset and angry, trying to protect our families the best we can when many work in the hospitality industry.
9. No One To Share Your Photos With
I created a poll on Twitter last night and although it’s a relatively small sampling (about 220 votes) an overwhelming majority (88%) voted that this is not the time to go to Hawaii. So, you might want to think twice before posting your photos of beautiful Hawaiian sunsets to social because your friends probably won’t be too impressed.
10. You Won’t Have A Good Impression
If you haven’t been to Hawaii before, then this is definitely not the time to go as your first impression won’t be too impressive. The governor warned yesterday, “Visitors won’t have the typical type of holiday they expect when they come to Hawaii.”
You’ve been forewarned.