Heightened restrictions could turn back tourists
Hawaii is hinting at tourists to turn around. The popular travel destination has heightened restrictions, such as placing a 50% capacity limit on bars, restaurants, and gyms, following a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Aloha State was recording only 50 positive COVID-19 cases a day when it decided to lift its travel restrictions in July. Travelers from out of state had been previously required to either show a negative test or be fully vaccinated to venture onto the islands.
Less than two months later, Hawaii is averaging more than 700 positive COVID-19 cases a day. Lieutenant Governor Josh Green told Yahoo Finance federal travel guidelines are complicating matters for the state.
“We now have to wrestle with the fact that the CDC and the FDA have given us formal recommendations that people can travel safely if they are fully vaccinated. That creates some legal challenges,” Green said. “I will say this, there is still a concern that people will catch and spread the Delta variant even if they are fully vaccinated.”
Hawaii Gov. David Ige has attempted to remain in lockstep with the federal guidelines, and as such has not implemented any official travel restrictions or required testing for visitors.
Still, Green says tourists may want to reconsider their plans to come to the island since some of their plans may be disrupted by the stricter in-state restrictions.
“It will be a little more difficult to get a restaurant reservation. No one is allowed to gather indoors with groups larger than 10, or outdoors in groups larger than 25. That means that a lot of the activities that people tend to do in Hawaii are severely restricted,” Green told Yahoo Finance.
Hawaii’s stringent policies on travelers helped it nearly eradicate the virus earlier this year, and the state has had strong success vaccinating its residents with 66% of its adult population fully vaccinated; 87% of its adult population has received at least one dose.