Yesterday, Hawaii Governor David Ige granted Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami’s request to temporarily opt out of the state’s pre-arrivals testing program. That’s because, according to the Star Advertiser, Kauai has seen a larger spike in travel-related coronavirus infections since the start of the pre-travel testing program.
Previously, Kauai had only reported 61 cases between March 1 and Oct. 14. But when the island(s) opened up to travelers on October 15th, whereby visitors could forego the mandatory 14-day quarantine in lieu of a negative COVID-19 test the numbers (not surprisingly) spiked.
As of yesterday, Kauai’s COVID-cases “had already jumped to 45 in November, up from six in October, when there was zero community spread. Travel-related cases on Kauai represent the vast majority of the island’s new infections this month.”
Governor Ige said, “Kauai County currently has the fewest number of ICU beds in the state, and private providers are seeking ways to increase capacity. This moratorium aims to stabilize the situation on Kauai.”
The decision is effective Wednesday December 2 at 12:01 a.m. and “means that all trans-Pacific and inter-island travelers arriving in Kauai are subject to the 14-day quarantine regardless of test results.”
“People have been responsible and so what’s more detrimental is having to go back into another stay-at-home order if we don’t act proactively,” Kawakami said.
Sadly, I knew this was going to happen (I wrote about it back on October 22) and it’s just a matter of time before this gets extended to all of the islands, not just Kauai.
As much as I want to travel, and especially to Hawaii, I know that it’s not going to happen until the vaccine is rolled out or there’s much better testing. And quite honestly, I’m not sure Hawaiians even want tourists until it’s safe.
It’s the end of tourism as we know it here on Kauai. I worked in the tourist industry in the 70s and 80s and in those times tourism was booming. I don’t think that’ll ever happen again here on Kauai. Much more Aloha back then in those days.