Hawaii experienced an alarming surge of COVID-19 cases during late August and earlier this month. Now, however, due to falling case counts and rising vaccination numbers, Hawaii’s governor has reassured residents that there won’t be another full-scale lockdown.
Governor David Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that a “significant” rise in the number of people being admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 would call for enacting new restrictions. If that scenario were to occur, Ige said he would consider putting a curfew in place and possibly putting new restrictions in place to further limit the number of people who can attend a social gathering.
“But I can pretty much tell you there won’t be another full-scale shutdown,” Ige said.
Rising And Falling Case Counts
In late August, Hawaii reported a one-day-high of new COVID-19 cases on back-to-back days. However, Hawaii’s Department of Health reported 461 new COVID-19 cases last Monday, bringing the seven-day average for new cases to 567. That’s a 37 percent drop from where it was two weeks ago, according to the department’s data.
What’s more, while 392 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 this past Monday, that number is down from the 435 new hospitalizations one week ago. The number of people in intensive care units is of particular concern to health care officials because growing numbers increasingly strain hospital resources. That number also fell Monday — to 79 from more than 100 a week ago.
“The situation is getting a little better, but I think it is still too early to call it a definite trend that would provide relief,” Ige said on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii livestream program.
It’s also good news that vaccination numbers are rising in Hawaii. For instance, 65.5 percent of the state’s residents are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and nearly 74 percent of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to Hawaii’s Department of Health.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note that if you are traveling to Hawaii, there are new restrictions on Oahu and Maui you need to know about.
On Oahu, a new emergency order took effect earlier this week. Until at least mid-November, everyone who wants to enter a restaurant or bar — or go to the gym and numerous other establishments — will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.
Other establishments that also require patrons to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result are gyms, fitness facilities, and dance studios; bowling alleys, arcades, and billiards halls; movie theaters, museums, and indoor sections of botanical gardens, zoos, and other attractions.
Meanwhile, officials in Maui took a slightly different approach. Beginning September 15, and lasting at least 30 days, everyone who wants to eat indoors in a restaurant or bar in Maui will need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
“Anyone who can’t show proof of vaccination can eat outside if that establishment has outside seating,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said while announcing the requirement. “If they can’t show proof of vaccination, they could also get takeout.”
Many tourist activities are now limited by capacity on Maui as well. Group sizes on tours, snorkeling excursions, fishing expeditions, sunset sails, and other activities will be limited to 50 percent of capacity to allow for social distancing. The capacity limit will also apply to all ground transportation services.
Know Before You Go
In a news conference last month, Governor Ige asked Hawaii residents and visitors to delay all non-essential travel through the end of October 2021 due to the state’s high number of COVID-19 cases.
“It is a risky time to be traveling right now,” Ige said. “I encourage everyone to restrict and curtail travel to Hawaii, residents and visitors alike. This is not a good time to travel to the islands.”
If you are planning to travel to the Hawaiian Islands, keep in mind that the State of Hawaii allows domestic, Hawaii-bound travelers vaccinated in the United States or U.S. territories to bypass the state’s quarantine requirement with proof of vaccination — without getting a pre-travel COVID-19 test. You can find all the details about traveling to Hawaii here.
While you’re thinking about visiting the islands when it’s safer, be sure to read all of our Hawaii coverage, including Oahu and Maui.
Since Hawaii’s restrictions can change at any time due to rising or falling COVID-19 cases, be sure to stay up to date on changes to travel requirements. You can find that type of news in our travel news coverage.