Hawaii Tourism: Honolulu Mayor alarmed, Hawaii Governor avoids questions
How dangerous is it to open the travel and tourism industry in Hawaii?
Honolulu Mayor Caldwell today introduced a “Fish to Dish” program to support O‘ahu’s critical fisheries infrastructure when a new record increase in COVID -19 infections was posted today.
Hawaii Governor Ige in a separate press conference again did not allow eTurboNews to ask a question and successfully avoided to respond to the Honolulu Mayor’s concern about not having enough contact tracers on Oahu to respond to the 41 new cases in Hawaii today. 38 were recorded on the island of Oahu, 2 on Kauai, and 1 on the Big Island.
“If our Health Department in the State of Hawaii cannot even handle a local increase of 41 cases in a day, how could Hawaii handle a larger increase after welcoming visitors?” This was asked by Honolulu Mayor Caldwell before the Governor’s press event. The Mayor indicated he may postpone the Kalakaua Street Festival, but there is a lot bigger issue – tourism.
Dr. Park added to the Governors’s non-responsiveness with confusion when he threw the ball to citizens in saying everyone needed to be part of the solution by washing hands, social distancing, and wearing a mask.
Ige also wanted to calm everyone down saying he expected an increase but didn’t say what increase in the numbers are acceptable to the government. When asked by AP what the red line was for Hawaii to roll back on accepting visitors by August 1, he gave a long roundabout answer not really saying anything precisely.
It appears our state government is becoming more and more overwhelmed with the new recent spread of the virus even though the marathon is just beginning according to Dr. Park. “We can only be successful if we work together as a community. We need citizens to take a personal responsibility. We need to be relentless in this marathon fight today,” he said.
Governor Ige is under tremendous pressure by the tourism industry to reopen the state. That is maybe why he assured everyone that even with the case count, we lead with the lowest infections and fatality rate. eTurboNews could not ask him if reopening would affect this position and would put the island in great danger.
Apparently, Hawaii is seeing clusters occurring when 2 to 15 people are gathering. This includes a father’s day party, a gym cluster, a business trip to the Big Island, and a training class at Hawaiian Airlines.
People are letting their guard down, and Dr. Anderson is worried about the results in 1-2 weeks after the 4th of July weekend.
The Governor confirmed to a Maui reporter he was working with Japan, tour companies, airlines, and hotels. The Governor said, “We don’t have a timeline, but exchanged proposals and discussions. We discussed protocols before departure and several other issues.
“The fact is, we can slow the virus but not stop it. It’s a community effort.”
The Governor confirmed he was concerned about the increase of US mainland COVID-19 cases.
The Governor and the Honolulu Mayor noted that US citizens are no longer welcome to travel to most of the world, including Europe and Asia. Governments of these countries would not consider Hawaii to be safe when the rest of our country failed to follow the rules. Apparently, as a US state, Hawaii cannot exclude Americans to travel here but instead welcomes foreigners.
Opening the travel and tourism industry is becoming a bigger question mark by the day. Mayor Caldwell was powerful in his response to eTurboNews that he would do anything to keep Honolulu safe, even if it means to sacrifice our economy.
The Governor, however, said he would make healthy adjustments if necessary and would not say if he was considering backing out of transpacific travel without quarantine.
It almost appears that whatever he decides, it is not making such a big difference anymore. Daily increases in arrivals by tourists required to quarantine shows the quarantine is really not enforced. Airlines are playing into this illegal game in re-establishing new flights. Hotels are slowly reopening again.
The Governor said, “It was not a sprint to August 1; it’s about changes necessary to be implemented in the community.”
Honolulu Mayor Caldwell is not running for re-election and his heartfelt, educated, and realistic responses speak for the character and vision this leader has.
When the Mayor was asked by eTurboNews about replacing travel to create travel bubbles with regions that have low or no COVID-19 (New Zealand, Guam, or possibly Japan), Caldwell said Hawaii is part of the United States and discriminating against American travelers may be a problem.
For months, the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau had not been part of any press conference and their phone lines and emails were not answered with callers hearing a recorded response saying that voicemail was full.