Tourism-dependent Hawaii is still exploring the opportunity to develop a travel bubble with Australia and other Pacific nations as it looks to revive its badly-crushed economy.
On Tuesday Hawaii Governor David Ige told reporters Hawaii was exploring the idea of special arrangements to allow tourists to come to Hawaii despite the exisiting 14-day quarantine for arrivals to the islands.
“We are looking at exploring all options to safely bring trans-Pacific travellers to the island,” he said.
He announced on Thursday the notion of geo-fencing particular resorts – a plan for arriving tourists to go directly to resorts and quarantine there for the two weeks.
Mr Ige said it was essential participating resorts would need to prove they could adequately quarantine guests and provide the sufficient medical support and precautions if any were to test positive to the virus.
The governor also pushed back to October 1 a program that would allow passengers with approved negative COVID-19 tests taken within 72 hours of their trip to Hawaii to bypass the 14-day passenger quarantine.
It comes as Hawaii experiences a spike in coronavirus cases. On Thursday, the state announced 236 new cases, the majority on the island of O’ahu which is home to Hawaii’s capital Honolulu. On August 13 Hawaii recorded its highest number of new cases – 354.
Australia is believed to be among those nations Hawaii remains interested in developing a bubble with, CNN reported this week.
Hawaii’s tourism body says that more than 10.4 million people visit the state annually, supporting some 216,000 jobs in a population of some 1.4 million.
However, the Australian government is unlikely to entertain the idea of allowing its residents to travel to a region that is experiencing growing cases of COVID-19, and there are currently no available flights from Australia to Hawaii.
Hawaii first floated a travel bubble idea in June as daily coronavirus cases on the island remained in the single digits – a far cry from thousands of cases announced daily on the US mainland.
Further restrictions have been implemented across O’ahu this week, with masks mandatory while shopping and indoor and outdoor gatherings capped at five people.
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