Hawaii’s governor is urging travelers not to visit the state amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
On Monday, Gov. David Ige held a press conference to address the rise in the number of patients in ICUs due to the virus. He asked tourists to voluntarily stay away from the islands for at least the next four weeks.
“It is a risky time to be traveling right now,” Ige said. “I did ask everyone — residents and visitors alike — to reduce travel to Hawaii to essential business activities only. We do know that it is not a good time to travel to the islands.”
Currently, travelers must be fully vaccinated or receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel in order to enter Hawaii without a 10-day quarantine period.
While Ige did not impose any additional travel restrictions on out-of-state visitors, he did add that restaurants and other attractions will have strict capacity restrictions. Access to rental cars will also be limited on the islands.
“The visitors who choose to come to the islands will not have the typical kind of holiday that they expect to get when they visit Hawaii,” he continued.
Ige concluded his message by encouraging everyone to continue wearing masks and avoid large gatherings. He also reminded residents that the FDA has granted full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and encouraged anyone who is unvaccinated to get their shots.
“If we all can take these actions for the next four weeks, we can bend the curve of COVID-19 here in the state of Hawaii,” he said.
Also on Monday, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi issued an emergency health order to suspend all large gatherings, including concerts, for four weeks. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25.
Honolulu restaurants, gyms, and other indoor establishments are limited to 50 percent capacity.
“#Covid19 cases are up dramatically, and our healthcare workers are being pushed beyond their limits,” Blangiardi tweeted Monday.
During his news conference, Ige praised Blangiardi’s health order, saying: “We fully support that action. We know that we need to take action now to reduce the spread of COVID and ensure that our hospitals are not overrun.”
Hawaii has reported nearly 10,000 new cases of the virus in the past two weeks, according to state health data. Ige said Monday that the state’s ICU beds are entirely filled.
As of Tuesday, the state has administered more than 1.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 62 percent of the population, or 883,000 people, are fully vaccinated.
At this rate, it won’t be long before Hawaii goes back into lockdown. They don’t play over there!