Gov. David Ige has urged travelers to refrain from visiting Hawaii amidst the worst spike in coronavirus cases the islands have seen since the onset of the pandemic. Overwhelmed ICUs is what travelers will find if they get sick in Hawaii, the government warns.
Just one month ago, the Aloha State was reporting 60 cases per day. Today the incidence in COVID-19 cases has spiraled to 500 according to the state’s Department of Health.
“I’ve stressed with the airlines and the visitor industry that now is not a good time to visit Hawaii,” Ige said during a livestream. “We have limited capacity in the restaurants. We see continuing cases here. … I’m asking even residents to restrict travel to essential business purposes only.”
This does not mean the government will enforce any lockdown measures. People traveling for essential reasons and business travelers will still be welcomed.
But, in order to discourage inbound travel and pre-pandemic-sized crowds from returning to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has reintroduced strict COVID restrictions in Hawaii.
Starting August 24, all gatherings exceeding 10 people outdoors and 25 indoors will be banned for at least the next 28 days, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Monday.
The mandate will also affect professionally-organized events such as weddings, conferences, concerts and sport events at the Waikiki Shell and Blaisdell Center.
Also visitors will see restaurant and bar capacity reduced to 50%, the reintroduction of face mask wearing and limited access to rental cars.
The Governor has publicly supported the Mayor and insisted that this “is a risky time” to be traveling to Hawaii.
On the bright side, Hawaii health officials confirmed on Monday that the Food and Drug Administration emitted a full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine.
The government expects that this long-awaited approval encourages more Hawaiians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as cases linked to the highly-contagious Delta variant continue to spread like wildfire across the islands.
“This morning, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (for people ages 16 and older),” the state Department of Health announced on its social media platforms. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, this announcement reaffirms that the vaccine is safe and effective.”