Is Hawaii reopen for tourism?

Starting August, travelers coming to Hawaii who have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arrival won’t have to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine. This comes as Hawaii slowly reopens for tourism.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige established a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all travelers back in March. Ige lifted the order for inter-island travelers on June 16 as part of the state’s reopening plan. But starting Aug. 1, all travelers who come to Hawaii with proof of testing negative for the virus within 72 hours of arrival won’t be subject to the order.

Some residents remain worrisome as Hawaii reopens tourism. There are currently 975 cases in Hawaii. The state reported 29 new cases on July 3, the highest single-day surge since early April.

“The mainland is insane right now. If we reopen to domestic flights, all these potential cases can be coming into our state,” said Maui resident Jacy Sera.

Sera was attending Chapman University in California when she decided to return home following the news of the school switching to online classes back in March.

“I self-quarantined for 14 days just because they were recommending it to everyone at that point,” said Sera. “I’m in close contact with my elderly grandma who’s in her 80s, so I didn’t want to risk it in case I did somehow contract it.”

Is Hawaii reopen for tourism? | LiveFEED
Image courtesy of Cassidy Keola, LiveFEED

Hawaii has one of the lowest infection and death rates in the country, according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green. The reopening of Hawaii’s tourism couldn’t be coming sooner for many local small businesses.

“The hardest thing with COVID-19 when it hit was not knowing,” said Justin Park, co-founder and lead bartender at Bar Leather Apron. “I knew we had to pivot and go in a different direction if we were to continue to exist. I didn’t know what to do.”

Bar Leather Apron was one of the many businesses forced to close their doors when COVID-19 hit. Luckily, Justin and his team were allowed to offer cocktails-to-go starting in May.

“It’s not normal business for us, but it does give us a chance to bring our team back in,” said Park.

According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 151 Hawaii businesses and residents filed for bankruptcy last month.

“Hawaii depends a lot on tourism for our economy. A bunch of my friends have parents who work in the tourism industry, so their livelihoods depend on it,” said Sera. “I’m all for [reopening], but I just hope the state is anticipating a spike in cases. It’s a matter of when it happens, not if it happens.”

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