Dec. 8, 2020
Many different words could be used to describe the year 2020 – and they’re not exactly positive. In early spring, many Hawaii businesses began to shut their doors and Governor Ige imposed the now-infamous 14-day quarantine for travelers. It was an interesting time to be on the islands. Thousands of unoccupied rental cars sat in the fields surrounding Kahului Airport, the road to Hana was closed to non-residents, and once-bustling tourist attractions were eerily quiet. While the pandemic caused quite a blow to the local economy, the ocean became more clear than most had ever seen, there was a noticeable uptick in monk seal, shark, and green sea turtle activity, and Hawaii residents got to experience the islands like never before.
It was the definition of a silver lining.
Back to Hawaii
Now Hawaii has worked out the kinks in the pre-travel testing system, and we are starting to see the slow but steady awakening of the tourism-reliant South Maui. While many were eager to get back to work, there were rightfully legitimate concerns about what opening the floodgates to travel might mean for the islands and Maui’s hospital. At the time of writing, we’re a little over a month into tourism’s return and the pre-travel test seems to be working efficiently. While Maui residents are still acting with care, the successful launch of the travel program is allowing those who work in the tourism industry to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Along with kickstarting tourism, the pre-travel test meant residents could once again see out of state family and friends without being subject to the quarantine. Hawaii’s current mask and social distancing rules are working to keep the virus at bay and helping to keep local businesses and events operating as well.