Hawaii’s governor this week made a blunt plea to tourists planning trips to his state in coming weeks: Stay away from the islands now and visit later
That leaves would-be travelers reconsidering their vacations, with some questioning the ethical implications of going anyway, despite rising Covid-19 cases. Many are also contending with nonrefundable bookings, which can make canceling harder to stomach.
Gov. David Ige said Monday that “now is not the time to visit the islands,” noting that hospitals are reaching capacity and intensive-care units are filling up.
The state has averaged about 720 new cases a day over the past week, up from a daily average near 50 around July 1, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
After shutting down to tourists earlier in the pandemic, Hawaii has seen a surge in visitors this summer as many airlines added nonstop routes there. The recent rebound has nearly matched record visitation levels in 2019, when more than 10 million people traveled to the state before the public-health crisis hit the U.S. Last month, hotel occupancy was just 1% lower in Maui County than in July 2019, and levels across the islands were only about 3% short of that period’s, according to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.