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First visitors to arrive after state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine released from order

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                The Duke Kahanamoku statue bears no lei with no visitors taking pictures around it before a barren Kuhio Beach in Waikiki on Monday. The first visitors to arrive in Hawaii after the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine took effect have served their time.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Duke Kahanamoku statue bears no lei with no visitors taking pictures around it before a barren Kuhio Beach in Waikiki on Monday. The first visitors to arrive in Hawaii after the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine took effect have served their time.

Some 268 visitors, who flew into Hawaii on March 26, the first day of a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine, have served their time.

Now, they can have as much freedom as “non-essential worker” locals, which isn’t much.

Those not subject to a quarantine are allowed to buy groceries, pick-up to-go food and exercise, as long as they are practicing social distancing and aren’t in any of the state’s closed parks, beaches or other forbidden zones. They should check with the counties to find out what’s allowed on the islands, where they are staying. And, officials say hopefully, they are wearing masks.

Gov. David Ige instituted a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all arriving trans-Pacific passengers on March 26 as a well to cut travel demand and protect Hawaii’s resources. He expanded the quarantine to interisland flights on April 1.

Visitors to Hawaii have dropped dramatically from historic levels, which at this time last year were averaging 30,000 a day. However, recently levels had been slowly inching up.

Anecdotally, tourism officials think some of the visitors are coming to take advantage of cheap deals. Others might be second-home owners or vacation renters seeking to hunker down in Hawaii rather than where they live, where COVID-19 cases and restrictions could be even worse.

Some of the increases also may have to do with the difficulty in categorizing visitors. For instance, a returning college student might be counted as an intended-resident if they say they are moving back to Hawaii; however, if they say they plan to return to college, they might get counted as a visitor.

Regardless, the number of visitors coming to Hawaii finally dropped on Wednesday, breaking five consecutive increases.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that Wednesday’s trans-Pacific passenger count was 689, including 107 visitors and 274 residents. The count also included 125 airline crew members, 142 transit passengers, and 31 intended new residents for Oahu, four for Kona, and six for Maui.

In comparison the number of visitors on Tuesday was 160, on Monday it was 133, on Sunday it was 126, on Saturday was 106, it was 94 on Friday and 89 on Thursday.

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