Gov. David Ige and Mayor Mitch Roth each expressed misgivings about state Home Speaker Scott Saiki’s plans to introduce laws to determine statewide COVID-19 journey guidelines, which Saiki stated would scale back confusion for residents and vacationers.
Talking Friday throughout a Fb Dwell stream, Ige stated a one-size-fits-all strategy to every county for journey guidelines doesn’t enable counties the flexibleness to keep in mind their very own conditions in regard to the coronavirus and its impact on tourism, and vice versa.
“I do assume that flexibility is essential, and we do see very totally different situations in every of the counties,” Ige stated. “For instance … Kauai has the fewest hospital beds and ICU models, in order that they undoubtedly are involved about any form of enhance in circumstances, as a result of it will possibly very simply overwhelm the hospitals there. You already know, versus Oahu, which we do have 1000’s of hospital rooms right here, and undoubtedly can deal with extra circumstances.
“ … The present system, because it exists, does enable me to subject statewide orders that impacts everybody, but additionally permits the flexibleness that we will take applicable motion in every of the counties to answer what we see taking place in the neighborhood.”
A invoice calling for a uniform journey coverage “wouldn’t enable for the sorts of exemptions that we’re presently seeing, akin to on Kauai,” Saiki instructed the Honolulu Star-Advertiser final week. “The statewide journey coverage needs to be constant and apply to all counties to keep away from confusion and to assist prop up our complete statewide economic system.”
Kauai had opted out of the state’s Protected Travels program, however on Tuesday modified its guidelines to permit vacationers who’ve been within the state for 3 days to take part within the Protected Travels program when touring to the Backyard Isle.
Kauai additionally has began a “resort bubble” program, permitting vacationers who take a pre-travel check to quarantine for 3 days at authorised properties after which take a post-travel check. These with unfavourable check outcomes are launched from quarantine.
The explanations Saiki listed for the necessity for a legislation to set statewide guidelines embrace avoiding confusion amongst incoming vacationers, a scarcity of information displaying journey is a predominant explanation for the coronavirus infections in Hawaii, and the function journey performs within the state’s economic system.
The numbers of latest coronavirus circumstances statewide spiked on the finish of final week. On Thursday, there have been 322 new circumstances reported statewide, with 18 of these on the Huge Island. On Friday, there have been 264 new circumstances statewide, 10 in Hawaii County.
“We anticipated that there could be a rise with the vacations and the elevated holidays. It was anticipated however clearly regarding,” Ige stated. “You already know, we’re monitoring that and monitoring hospitalizations. … We need to be sure that we don’t need to get overrun, that we don’t must ration care or do these sorts of issues that actually put our group in danger.”
Ige stated the clear majority of latest circumstances “undoubtedly is residents.”
“The numbers of circumstances which can be tied to guests proceed to be, comparatively, a small share of the circumstances we’re seeing,” he stated.
Roth stated Friday he has “blended emotions” about Saiki’s proposed laws.
“It might be good if all of us had the identical guidelines however, , each county is totally different. Now we have totally different wants and totally different considerations proper now,” Roth stated. “Kauai has only a few hospital beds, so if their hospitalizations go up by only a few folks, they’re closely impacting their hospitals. Now we have a a lot bigger island, however we nonetheless don’t have that many hospital beds. And (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) we had two (COVID-19 sufferers) in our hospitals.
“Because the numbers go up, as we see these numbers go uncontrolled, we could have to take the identical tack that Kauai has taken. Now we have a secondary (post-arrival) testing program that appears to be working fairly nicely. It’s not excellent, however we’re catching lots of people on the airport, and we’re conserving our numbers down.”
Each Ige and Roth additionally expressed concern about variant strains of the coronavirus that have been first detected in England and have now been present in varied components of the mainland U.S.
Saiki stated he expects opposition from particular person counties about making uniform, statewide journey guidelines.
Saiki is also prone to introduce laws permitting inbound passengers to take a COVID-19 check at Daniel Ok. Inouye Worldwide Airport in Honolulu if they don’t have a unfavourable check earlier than touchdown. Passengers testing unfavourable wouldn’t be topic to quarantine, he stated.
Passengers with out unfavourable check outcomes presently are required to undergo a 10-day quarantine.
The Related Press contributed to this story.
E-mail John Burnett at email@example.com.