Hawaii tourism is the top industry in this island paradise but Covid-19 restrictions are hitting it very hard.
Hawaii was supposed to reopen to tourism tomorrow- Aug 1- for visitors who show negative covid test results within 72 hours of departure. That now has been moved back until Sept 1, and who knows if it will reopen without a 14 day quarantine then either.
In the meantime, the lack of visitors is devastating Hawaii hotels, restaurants, attractions and businesses which can’t be sustained without visitors. According to an article posted in the July 20, 2020 online edition of Travel Weekly:
Iolani Palace started a campaign for donations to help stay afloat during the unprecedented drop in attendance. Maui Tropical Plantation, a typically busy attraction with a tram ride, ziplines and the Mill House, a well regarded farm-to-table restaurant, announced it was shutting down indefinitely. Owner Mike Atherton has pledged to reopen eventually, but it’s unclear when.
Surfing Goat Dairy, a popular stop on agricultural and food tours in the Maui upcountry, has publicly stated that the shutdown has placed it in peril of closing permanently. After more than two decades of serving both locals and visitors, Da Kitchen has closed all of its locations across Oahu and Maui since the beginning of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, those still operating are working to prepare for reopening that will look nothing like when the businesses originally closed, due to ongoing social distancing and health regulations. Luaus typically involve close interaction with performers or Hawaiian cultural practitioners demonstrating skills like poi pounding or basket weaving, and the meal is served buffet style.
The Old Lahaina Luau on Maui is looking at having plated table service and cutting capacity to 25% to 40% of previous levels.
“It’s going to be very hard to present whatever we do, whether it’s food or entertainment in the way that made us unique,” said Kawika Freitas, director of public relations. “We share from the heart. We hug. Hawaiian culture is about gathering with family and sharing. There will be a lot of things we can’t do when we reopen. …”
At the Polynesian Cultural Center on the north shore, the majority of the more than 1,400 workers have been furloughed, and management was planning to reopen in August before pushing back a month in response to the governor’s decision to delay pretravel testing.
My Vacation Lady LOVES the Hawaii islands and hopes that the governor will reopen the islands on September 1. We have clients anxious to honeymoon or vacation in the islands. Without toursts, we are not sure how much longer the businesses and Hawaiian people will be able to survive.
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