From visitors to ‘intended residents,' arrivals are slowly rising

With tourism at a standstill, governor says he’s preparing for $1.5B in cuts to state’s budget....
With tourism at a standstill, governor says he’s preparing for $1.5B in cuts to state’s budget. Location: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport / April 20, 2020(jonathan saupe | Jonathan Jared Saupe / Digital Content Creator / Hawaii News Now)
Published: May. 3, 2020 at 3:08 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are early indications Hawaii’s arrivals by air are on the upswing.

Even with most shops and hotels closed, Hawaii could soon see more visitor arrivals in the coming weeks as mainland states and other countries ease COVID-19 restrictions.

With low airfare to Hawaii because of low demand, some worry visitors from recently reopened states will fly to Hawaii to relieve stress from the pandemic.

Over the last three days from April 30 to May 2, the number of people passing through Hawaii’s airports has slowly climbed — despite mandatory quarantine rules being in place until May 31.

Data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority showed 640 arrivals on Thursday. Of those, 166 were visitors, and 196 were residents. The remainder were listed as either flight crew members (who aren’t subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine), passengers in transit, or intended residents.

Intended residents is defined by the HTA as people who are moving to Hawaii. This includes military families, those moving from other states, and former residents moving back home to the islands.

Compare Thursday’s numbers to Saturday’s: There were 823 arrivals. Of those, 188 were visitors, 315 residents and 110 intended residents — all subject to staying behind closed doors at a home or hotel room for the next 14 days.

But is the state able to enforce and track every single one of them? Many in the community, including some lawmakers, don’t think so.

Gov. Ige himself admitted they are making improvements to the quarantine system almost daily as they continue to figure out what works best. Despite this, he said he still believes the state’s quarantine system is effective.

Hawaii daily arrivals over the last 3 days.
Hawaii daily arrivals over the last 3 days.(HTA)

For those flying to Hawaii, a 14-day self quarantine means the following:

  • Do not use shared facilities such as pools, spas, gyms, restaurants, or bars
  • Ask someone to drop off food and other necessities at your front door or order room service
  • Do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centers, childcare, or local attractions
  • Do not let visitors in—only people who usually live with you should be in your home

Violating these rules can land you in jail or a $5,000 fine.

For more information on the quarantine, click here to be directed to the HTA’s website.

Overall, these numbers are nowhere near as close to the thousands of arrivals Hawaii saw this time last year ― anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 a day ― but leaders have said a global health pandemic is not the time for a vacation to paradise.

This story may be updated.

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