Gov. David Ige said it is unlikely that the state will open transpacific travel on October 1st, and that his office will release a timeframe of when that could happen sometime later this week. This morning on Spotlight Hawaii, the Governor said he met with a number of travel industry leaders over the weekend to work out what will be needed to safely bring visitors back.
“Just talking with many in the industry, it will probably not be October 1st, but in the next few days we will be providing a better plan for the scheduling of what those dates would look like,” he said.
Ige said the state’s new mandatory travel application that began earlier this month, and other protocols put in place for pre-travel testing will help to streamline the process, but hotels and other-related businesses have told him they likely need at least a month to gear up and prepare.
The Governor said he understands the frustrations regarding Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s restriction on limiting outdoor activity to individuals only, particularly for families with young children, but he supports the Mayor’s decision.
“The Mayor really felt that there needed to be a bright line that they could enforce on beaches, parks and trails, and decided that it should be individuals,” Ige said.
Ige has adjusted his own outdoor activity, with solo runs around the State Capitol.
“It is about changing our behavior in a way that helps us fight the virus. And you know, part of these are for short durations so that we can reduce the number of new cases that we’re seeing,” he said.
The Governor took questions on the economy, unemployment assistance, and the deadly coronavirus outbreak at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo. Ige also spoke about the changes in leadership at the Department of Health and expressed confidence in the state’s ramped up contact tracing program.
The Governor was followed by a brief interview with Hawaii Housing and Development Corporation executive director, Denise Iseri-Matsubara, who answered questions about the State’s Rental Relief and Housing Assistance Program.
Under the program, monthly rent payments of up to $2,000 per household on Oahu, or $1,500 per household on the neighbor islands are available. The $50 million program is being funded through CARES Act funding. To learn more, click here.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.