Hawaii's Governor Asks Tourists to Stay Home Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

“It’s not a good time to travel to the islands”

Aerial view of Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Enrique Aguirre Aves / Getty Images

If a trip to the Hawaiian islands has been on your to-do list, the state's governor has an important message for you right now: don't come. During a recent press conference, Governor David Ige asked that all leisure and non-essential business travel to Hawaii (or between the islands) cease immediately.

“It is a risky time to be traveling right now,” said Ige. “I encourage everyone to restrict or curtail travel to Hawaii, residents and visitors alike.” 

He stated that it is not a good time to visit the islands and that visitors who choose to visit the islands right now will not experience the “typical” kind of Hawaiian holiday they probably expect. Restaurant capacity has just been reduced to 50 percent, rental cars are scarce, and hospitals across the islands are close to capacity.

Ige noted that there has already been about a 14 percent drop in tourist visits to the island, though they are hoping to see a larger reduction in tourism in the future. 

Despite Ige’s request for travelers to cancel trips to the islands, he has not issued an official travel restriction for the islands, and there is no requirement or incentive for hotels, airlines, or other tourism providers to give refunds for canceled trips.

According to recent numbers shared by Ige, about 62 percent of the Hawaiian population has reached fully vaccinated status, and over 70 percent have received at least one shot.

Currently, entry into Hawaii requires either a 10-day mandatory quarantine, proof of vaccination (for travelers from the U.S. or U.S. territories who have been vaccinated within the U.S. or a U.S. territory), or a negative pre-travel test result taken within 72 hours of before the start of the final leg of their trip.

The governor’s current ask to halt travel extends through October (essentially covering the remainder of the islands’ shoulder season) or until the healthcare system is less burdened by the current COVID-19 spike. On June 18, Hawaii only recorded 17 new COVID-19 cases, but by Aug. 28, the state hit a new daily case high of 1,017. 

“It’s not a good time to travel to the islands," Ige said.

Article Sources
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  1. Hawaii Tribune Herald. "Hawaii hits 60% mark for vaccinations." July 30, 2021
  2. Hawaii Tourism Authority. "COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus."

  3. CNBC. "‘We are on fire’: Five U.S. states set new records for Covid cases as hospitalizations rise." Aug. 16, 2021.