County mayors in disagreement over state’s tourism relaunch plan
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just eight days before Hawaii reopens for trans-Pacific travel, the state is still nailing down key details for its pre-travel testing program.
One of the unanswered questions: Which counties will drop the quarantine for visitors who get tested?
So far, Oahu and Maui are in and Kauai is undecided. Big Island Mayor Harry Kim is opting out, saying a single-test isn’t safe enough.
[Read more: State to relaunch trans-Pacific travel as planned, but many still concerned]
None of the mayors are completely comfortable.
“Some of them would like to have second tests and other mechanism that we can provide a safe way for trans-Pacific travelers to come," said Gov. David Ige.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also favors double-testing. But he said not having it should not delay the restart of trans-Pacific travel.
“Were' not opting out. I believe one test is better than no test," he said.
This has been a difficult decision for the mayors because opting out of the pre-travel testing program will hurt businesses while opening up could increase the spread of the disease.
“So yeah, if he keeps extending the quarantine he’s ruining it for a lot of businesses," Kimo Field, of Hilo Ocean Adventures said of Mayor Kim’s decision to opt out.
"A lot of people out there who want to get out and do things, but can’t. So it’s almost like a prison.”
But Debra Ching-Maiava, of Ken’s House of Pancakes, said she supports the extension of the closure.
“See what happens on Oahu and the other islands, if they choose to stay open, so that we wouldn’t all be exposed to who knows what," she said.
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