Hawaii delayed its plan to allow out-of-state visitors to return to the vacation hot spot by a month because of an increase in coronavirus cases in the state and on the U.S. mainland.
In late June, the governor’s office announced that travelers could visit Hawaii beginning Aug. 1, no quarantine required, by presenting a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of boarding a flight. Without one, passengers arriving from the mainland would have to strictly quarantine for 14 days, a policy in place since March that has scared away most tourists and wrecked Hawaii’s tourism industry. The surge in cases has made it harder for people in many states to get tested.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige said at a news conference late Monday that the travel program won’t begin until Sept. 1, a decision he said was not made lightly.
“We have always said that we will make decisions based on the health and safety of our community as the highest priority,” Ige said.
Monday, Hawaii reported three more coronavirus deaths and 23 new cases, bringing its total cases to 1,243. Saturday, it reported a single-day record of 42 cases, Ige said. That is a fraction of other states, thanks in part to the island state’s isolation and the strict quarantine announced in March as the pandemic gripped the country.
Ige cited “uncontrolled outbreaks and surges” on the mainland as a factor in the state’s decision, singling out several states with spikes, including California and Arizona, big sources of visitors to Hawaii.
“As we speak right now, the outbreaks on the mainland are not in control, and we don’t believe that situation will change significantly by Aug. 1 as we had hoped,” Ige said.
Source: USA Today