Gov. David Ige signed a proclamation today empowering the counties to establish resort travel bubbles.
The concept, which isn’t out of the starting gate yet, would give quarantining visitors the right to roam at designated areas in participating hotels or resorts. They wouldn’t be allowed off the resorts for the 14 days. If they stray, a geofencing app or device would alert police.Their contact with those not subject to a self-quarantine also would be limited.
Ige said, “We continue to work on digitizing and refining the travel screening process as well as developing enforceable, safe alternatives to self-quarantine.”
At the same time, Ige also extended the interisland and trans-Pacific mandatory 14-day self quarantines quarantine to Sept. 30. The extensions followed Ige’s announcement Tuesday that state will wait until at least Oct. 1 to begin a program to allow passengers with approved negative COVID-19 tests taken within 72 hours of their trip to Hawaii to bypass the out-of-state passenger quarantine.
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami and Maui Mayor Mike Victorino joined Ige at the media briefing today. Kawakami and Victorino have been exploring the concept for some time. They said participating resorts would have to submit safety plans and go through other hoops to get approval. The resorts must undertake the equipment purchases and the cost of ensuring that their resort bubbles are safe for staff, guests and the community.
Kawakami and Victorino said they couldn’t provide a launch timetable given that there are more logistics to work out.
Fans have touted the idea as a way to allow Hawaii tourism have at least a soft opening before a broader pre-arrivals testing program is available.
Although, critics have said it’s unclear how much travel demand that resort bubbles would generate given that visitors must consent to tracking and agree not to venture outside of resorts.