David Ige, Governor of Hawaii, says the US state’s tourism will remain closed for at least another month due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Ige said the planned 1 September start of a programme that would allow out-of-state visitors to bypass Hawaii’s strict 14-day quarantine upon arrival by presenting a negative COVID-19 test at the airport, has been delayed until at least 1 October.
“We will continue to monitor the conditions here in Hawaii as well as key markets on the mainland to determine the appropriate start date for the pre-travel (COVID-19) testing programme,” he said.
USA Today reports the delay in the programme will affect passengers “who bet on the 1 September reopening and bought airline tickets to Hawaii; airline flight schedules; and, of course, Hawaii’s pummelled tourism industry.”
Ige said the state will announce a new date in advance so “that the hospitality industry would have the time they need to staff up” and support the new COVID-19 option for visitors.
USA Today reports Hawaii – which was initially seen as a model for containing coronavirus spread with just 900 cases in total between February and June – has seen a rise in infections since early July.
According to the World Health Organisation’s latest statistics, the state has had a total of 5,586 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 41 deaths reported.