Ige to extend quarantine for mainland, international travelers beyond June 30

Ige to extend quarantine for mainland, international travelers beyond June 30
Retail businesses on Oahu were allowed to begin reopening on Friday, and many did so — with a slew of new restrictions. Others waited, still putting together plans to help minimize the risk of coronavirus. (Source: Jonathan Saupe/Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The governor says a mandatory, 14-day quarantine for mainland and international travelers will be extended beyond June 30.

The decision effectively rules out a reopening of the tourism industry by July 1 — a date some had eyed as possible given the state’s low number of new COVID-19 cases.

Gov. David Ige made the announcement Thursday in a virtual gathering with Hawaii’s four mayors. Ige didn’t say when the quarantine might be lifted.

But in the past, the quarantine has been extended a month at a time.

The quarantine has effectively shut down the tourism industry, slowing visitor arrivals to a trickle. On Wednesday, 311 visitors arrived in the islands. And in all of April, the state saw about 4,500 visitors.

Tourism industry leaders have called on the governor to release a proposed timeline for reopening to mainland and international visitors, saying that without they’re unable to effectively plan.

“That’s the missing ingredient," said Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “We need a date."

Lt. Gov. Josh Green, meanwhile, has called on the governor to move more swiftly to reopen the kamaaina economy so that the state can focus on the more difficult task of rebooting the tourism industry.

He added there is “reason to be cautious” about travelers from the mainland.

He’s proposed “bubble tourism,” or welcoming tourists back from countries with low levels of infection.

He’s also suggested that tourists could get tested for COVID-19 and show that they’re negative in order to avoid a mandatory quarantine.

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Meanwhile, the governor said that he is in discussions with the mayors about doing away with the inter-island quarantine soon. There’s wide speculation that the inter-island quarantine could be lifted by June 1.

The governor’s statements comes as Hawaii continues to allow more business to reopen.

On Friday, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and other “personal care services” will able to resume operations on Oahu — more than two months after they were told to shut down.

The Neighbor Islands are also reopening more so-called “medium-risk” businesses.

This story will be updated.

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