Two weeks after Gov. David Ige advised visitors to stay away from the state following the pressure on the islands’ UCI’s capacity, the tourism industry has seen a drop of 33% on visitor numbers.
Back then, Ige said that “it will take six to seven weeks to see significant change in the number of COVID cases. It is a risky time to be traveling right now. Everyone, residents and visitors alike, should reduce travel to essential business activities only.”
And it worked.
Data revealed by Safe Travels show that so far Hawaii has received some 252,000 visitors, 128,000 less than in the two-week period prior to Aug. 23, when the governor made the plea.
There was a slight increase in travel over the Labor Day weekend but still a low number if compared with the weekend before.
Good news first. There has been a slight decrease in coronavirus activity starting September 3.
Hawaii Health Officials reported 756 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths across the state. With the new cases, the state’s tally reached 66,554 over the last 24 hours.
However, there have been unwanted collateral temporary consequences.
The containment measures have also translated into a new round of redundancies, unpaid leaves and reduced hours in the tourism sector just when the federal unemployment aid is ending.
They say it gets darker before dawn. So, it may get darker for the hospitality industry over the weeks to come when Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi launches its “Safe Access O‘ahu” and Maui Mayor Mike Victorino introduces his new “Health Pass.”
In both cases, bar and restaurant customers must provide proof they are fully vaccinated to be allowed dining inside. The unvaccinated will need to fight for the limited outside tables.
Also, tourist activities such as tours, snorkeling excursions, fishing expeditions, sunset sails and others will be limited to a 50% capacity.
These measures will be enforced on Sept. 15, and are meant to be in place through October 15.
“If the (COVID case) numbers don’t come down over the next 30 days, we may have to implement stricter rules and stricter mandates,” announced Maui County Mayor.
Hopefully, most of Hawaii’s current restrictions will be lifted by the end of October.