Some Neighbor Island businesses say traveler quarantine is another blow to their bottom lines

Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 9:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Several Neighbor Island residents expressed support for the governor’s decision to reinstate a mandatory inter-island quarantine starting Tuesday, but many also said the new order represents another blow to their efforts to return to normal — and rebuild the economy.

Kona resident Sandy Natali frequently travels to Oahu, and has a tripped planned for next week.

She can’t cancel and so will be forced to quarantine when she returns home. (The quarantine doesn’t apply to travelers going to Oahu, but to anyone arriving in at any Neighbor Island.)

"That effects not only me, but it effects my family because then I can't be around my grandchildren," Natali said.

Honolulu resident Cory Ward said the quarantine may be disappointing, but it is necessary.

“I think it’s good because of all the recent spikes because they need to keep it contained to Oahu,” said Ward. “I don’t think we should be spreading it to the outer islands.”

The announcement is hitting some businesses particularly hard.

Blue Ocean Adventures on Kauai went from not having any tours during the first inter-island quarantine to being practically sold out once it was lifted.

Owner Cody Kimura fears his business may now go under.

“We canceled about 160 people right off the bat within one hour. So again, that was devastating already and it’s just more to come, it’s the tip of the iceberg,” Kimura said.

Kimura’s company is one of three zodiac tours currently operating on the island. He cut down from four boats to three just to stay afloat. He is now worried about his employees.

“We’re used to that slowdown in the winter months, but right now is the only time we get to make enough business to survive the winter. So, now that that’s cut short, it is very, very dangerous for not only my company but for a lot of companies here on our island,” said Kimura.

Kimura is now depending on his fellow Kauai residents to help him to ride this second wave.

“Local businesses are suffering badly,” he said. “Everyone says support local and I don’t think people really understand how serious that is.”

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