Hawaii has been shuttered to tourists since March and several islands are looking at creative ways to get guests back to the islands.
Tourism makes up about 21% of the Hawaiian Islands economy. Hawaii has been been shut down to tourists since March. The Governor has extended the essential ban on tourism through October so some islands are looking to get creative.
Currently, there is a mandatory 14 day quarantine for anyone not from the islands, visiting the islands. The quarantine also applies to residents who are returning to the islands. This means that anyone coming to the islands must shelter in place for 14 days. That does not mean roaming a resort but actually staying physically in the hotel room.
Several resorts, such as the Four Seasons Maui have put information on the homepage of their website stating that due to COVID-19 they are not currently open but are accepting reservations beginning October 1.
With the new measures in place that would allow tourism, upon landing at any Hawaiian airport, all travelers will be subject to a temperature check. Anyone displaying a temperature above 100.4 degrees will receive a medical assessment by paramedics stationed at the airport. Passengers without a fever will proceed through a checkpoint where they will present valid ID and will sign the quarantine order. By signing the order, they confirm they are aware of the mandatory 14-day quarantine and any violation will result in a fine to up to a $5,000 fine and/or a year imprisonment.
The island of Kauai and Maui are looking to implement a bubble for tourism beginning October 1. With the bubble, visitors will be allowed to move around as long as they stay within the resort. Resorts would have to apply for a permit with the county and be able to show a comprehensive plan on how to keep both visitors and residents safe.
Said Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami. “Resorts have to show the burden of proof that they have the ability and process and systems in place to keep their associates healthy and safe, as well as their guests, and most importantly, our people.”
Maui Mayor Mike Victorino says his county is working on a similar plan and a few of the resorts are preparing to move forward. Different layers of protective measures have to be in place in order for the resort bubble to work.
One such measure would be a tracking device known as Aqua in which visitors would be required to wear wristbands at all times. These bands would alert authorities if they leave the resort.
“This technology is also embedded whereas if somebody tried to take this band off, it will also ping the resort security as well as our local law enforcement,” said Kawakami.
According to Kawakami, the county has already been testing the Aqua technology and it is showing great promise. This technology is likely similar to the Magic Band technology used by Walt Disney World resort which does have a tracker that allows Disney to track guest movement although mainly for the purpose of data gathering and bringing guests food at select restaurants.
In terms of safety for resort workers. The current plan is to have the same groups working together and to have them stay at the resort.
“I would like to have grouping so when it is time for contact tracing, it’s a lot easier and a lot safer and they don’t go home and spread it to their families,” said Victorino.
Resorts wishing to take part would be responsible for paying all additional costs for the safety measures as well as the Aqua technology. In addition, they would be responsible to care for guests and workers who get infected.
“The resorts would have to designate areas for people that may become ill, to isolate and get treatment, and have all of their food and supplies dropped off,” said Kawakami.
This is similar to what many cruise lines are doing in order to get the cruise industry back on its feet.
Important to remember that with this bubble, guests would be required to remain at their resort for the entirety of their stay or would face up to a year imprisonment or a fine.
We are looking forward to getting back to traveling and want to do so safely not only for us but of course for the places that we visit. These are the types of measures that travelers will likely have to take for some time if we wish to get back to traveling.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.