Gov. David Ige and Mayor Mitch Roth each expressed misgivings about state Home Speaker Scott Saiki’s plans to introduce laws to ascertain statewide COVID-19 journey guidelines, which Saiki mentioned would scale back confusion for residents and vacationers.
Talking Friday throughout a Fb Stay stream, Ige mentioned a one-size-fits-all strategy to every county for journey guidelines doesn’t enable counties the flexibleness to take into consideration their very own conditions in regard to the coronavirus and its impact on tourism, and vice versa.
“I do suppose that flexibility is vital, and we do see very completely different circumstances in every of the counties,” Ige mentioned. “For instance … Kauai has the fewest hospital beds and ICU models, in order that they undoubtedly are involved about any form of enhance in instances, as a result of it may very simply overwhelm the hospitals there. You recognize, versus Oahu, which we do have hundreds of hospital rooms right here, and undoubtedly can deal with extra instances.
“ … The present system, because it exists, does enable me to challenge 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 at present seeing, resembling on Kauai,” Saiki advised 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 take a look at to quarantine for 3 days at authorized properties after which take a post-travel take a look at. These with unfavorable take a look at 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 reason for the coronavirus infections in Hawaii, and the position journey performs within the state’s economic system.
The numbers of latest coronavirus instances statewide spiked on the finish of final week. On Thursday, there have been 322 new instances reported statewide, with 18 of these on the Huge Island. On Friday, there have been 264 new instances statewide, 10 in Hawaii County.
“We anticipated that there can be a rise with the vacations and the elevated holidays. It was anticipated however clearly regarding,” Ige mentioned. “You recognize, we’re monitoring that and monitoring hospitalizations. … We wish to be sure we don’t wish to get overrun, that we don’t must ration care or do these sorts of issues that actually put our group in danger.”
Ige mentioned the clear majority of latest instances “undoubtedly is residents.”
“The numbers of instances which might be tied to guests proceed to be, comparatively, a small proportion of the instances we’re seeing,” he mentioned.
Roth advised the Tribune-Herald Friday he has “combined emotions” about Saiki’s proposed laws.
“It will be good if all of us had the identical guidelines however, you understand, each county is completely different. We now have completely different wants and completely different issues proper now,” Roth mentioned. “Kauai has only a few hospital beds, so if their hospitalizations go up by just some folks, they’re closely impacting their hospitals. We now 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. We now have a secondary (post-arrival) testing program that appears to be working fairly effectively. 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 had been first detected in England and have now been present in numerous components of the mainland U.S.
Saiki mentioned 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 take a look at at Daniel Ok. Inouye Worldwide Airport in Honolulu if they don’t have a unfavorable take a look at earlier than touchdown. Passengers testing unfavorable wouldn’t be topic to quarantine, he mentioned.
Passengers with out unfavorable take a look at outcomes at present are required to undergo a 10-day quarantine.
The Related Press contributed to this story.
E mail John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.