Potential resort bubble idea has governor support

LIHU‘E — The reality is, visitors continue to fly into Hawai‘i despite a mandatory two-week quarantine, and Kaua‘i’s working on another “out-of-the-box” proactive measure, Mayor Derek Kawakami said Tuesday.

The county is currently forging away on a “Plan B” resort bubble that would confine visitors to a property to quarantine.

A team is workshopping the idea and working on technology to create a geo-fence that would create a boundary of where visitors are allowed. Tourists will need to agree to be tracked, Kawakami said, but they would be able to enjoy the resort property without endangering others.

Kawakami said the idea is flexible right now, keeping in mind that pre-testing or tests upon arrival could eventually be established. And putting a hard reopening date on the table just isn’t feasible at this stage of the pandemic.

“Those components are not tangible right now, but the speed at which technology has been created during this pandemic is mindblowing,” Kawakami said. “We’re looking at ways to reshape the visitor industry so when we get back to normalcy, it’s still a vibrant visitor experience without further eroding the quality of life for residents.”

And this resort bubble idea, like many of the “out-of-the-box” ideas coming out of Kaua‘i, Gov. David Ige is in full support.

“Mayor Kawakami has been a strong advocate for solutions that work on Kaua‘i, not a one size fits all,” Ige said in an interview with The Garden Island on Tuesday.

Reflecting on Kaua‘i, Ige pointed to the leadership of Kawakami and his team of experts, including Kaua‘i District Health Officer Janet Berreman, analyzing the rapidly changing pandemic, establishing rules and enforcing different tactics to protect a Kaua‘i community.

Ige pointed to the institution of the nightly curfew as one of those key efforts that worked here but not elsewhere.

On March 20, Kawakami implemented his second emergency rule related to the novel coronavirus, establishing an islandwide nighttime curfew in effect from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. daily. Similar curfews were later adopted on a trial basis in Honolulu and Maui, but they didn’t see the same results as Kaua‘i, Ige said.

Yesterday, state officials reported 144 new positive cases of coronavirus, and the death of a Honolulu resident, a stark reminder that the pandemic continues with force. And while cases spike throughout the state and community spread is confirmed on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i remains as a leader in response.

Since March, Kaua‘i has reported 47 total cases, and as of Tuesday afternoon, only two of these were active and currently in isolation.

Ige and the mayors meet three times weekly discussing response, rules and other topics. The state, Ige said, provides a framework for the counties to work off, but these meetings have provided key moments of collaboration.

“Every county needs the ability to create and shape a program that works for them,” he said.

Having the support of the governor has given the mayor a sense of relief.

“(Ige) has never lost his temper or responded with ill will, it’s always been with patience and understanding and compassion,” Kawakami said.

The state-county relationship has evolved, both said, and has only resulted in a stronger understanding and greater respect.

“I know how complicated managing this little island can be,” Kawakami said. “I can’t imaging the weight on his shoulders.”

  1. Kaua’i Tutu August 5, 2020 6:45 am Reply

    I think this Bubble idea is perfect and could easily be implemented especially at the Marriott Beach Club and Hyatt properties

    1. Everythingisawesome August 7, 2020 1:31 pm Reply

      Logistics questions:
      1) how many rooms is that?
      2) If they are 100% filled, is this more, or less, than current occupancy levels on the island? Is would still likely be a small percentage of the 25k visitors that have been on the island at any given time in the past. In which case, who benefits? Mainland hotel chains?
      3) If 100% full, and someone decides to ‘extend’ their stay, say from 7 to 10 days, how do you accommodate extras?
      4) Room (cleaning) service or no? Who would pay to stay in a penitentiary with no cleaning service??
      5) If 100% full, how quickly would an infection spread amongst the guests? How may infected get released into the community after 14 days of quarantine? They could catch it on quarantine day 1…or quarantine day 13.
      6) When someone tests positive at the Covid Hotel, do you shut it down? What do you do with the patrons while you shut it down? Do you stop all inbound flights because the ‘resort’ is shut down? Who pays for that?

      I came up with these questions in about 5 minutes, and I don’t even work in the hotel or hospitality industry.

      It really makes no sense. It’s only appealing to some on this island because it gives them a sense of entitlement…”My Island, not yours.” Even suggesting it as a possible solution shows how little forethought the Mayor and Governor have.

      Most of us would like an easy solution. This isn’t it. Instead of labeling this idea a ‘Resort Bubble” they should call it a “Virus incubator”.

  2. Kauaidoug August 5, 2020 11:24 am Reply

    Tourists who travel and feel they’ve spent “all this money” to get here will want to go wherever they want when they want when they think no one is watching. CONTACT TRACING IS NOT WORKING ON OAHU. That is our lesson now. Mayor stay your ground but I have very little faith of tourists doing what they are supposed to do. Not all but it only takes a couple.

  3. What? August 5, 2020 12:40 pm Reply

    STOP!!!!!! You can not put people in prison for fourteen days because they need to travel. This is lunacy. They can do testing when they get here or before they get on a plane. There are more than enough tests too at least check the inter island travel. But that is not even being discussed. WHY?????????

  4. J.D. August 5, 2020 4:52 pm Reply

    These ” leaders” are working overtime trying to completely ruin the Islands. Open up and let people live again.

  5. Da Shadow August 5, 2020 5:02 pm Reply

    ….but vacation rentals homes, which, unlike hotels, are physically isolated from neighbors, with no common spaces, aren’t allowed to host guests?

  6. davidp August 5, 2020 5:31 pm Reply

    I think the mayor needs to take a step back and fully comprehend what he is contemplating. It seems to me that the bubble concept is just a few steps short of surrounding the resorts with electrified barbed wire fencing, positioning guard towers at strategic locations, and controlling access through a security gate.
    Come on man. Tracking US citizens to make sure they do not move freely through a part of their own country?

  7. SimpleSolutions August 5, 2020 6:28 pm Reply

    Bubble Resort…..call it what it is….a concentration camp. Another bright idea by Kauai’s mayor. WTF? Think about it people, what impact did the curfew have on Covid on the island? Nothing that the mayor has done has had any impact on Covid on Kauai. Ige instituted the travel quarantine which effectively kept Covid breakouts on the islands…Our total cases to date would be a good day in New York.

    Let’s get real here, if there was a concerted effort of 1000s of tourists coming to Hawaii that included breaking all mandates that our mayor has declared, there is simply nothing that Mayor Kawakami could do. We do not have the infrastructure in place to process and convict a flood of visitors.

    Instead of coming up with “out of the box” solutions, the mayor’s focus should be on preparing for the next wave of COVID on Kauai by increasing hospital beds, ICU units, and PPEs.

    He should also implement a “healthy living” campaign that focuses on diet and on the exercise of our citizens. Instead, he was entertaining us with Instagram with recipes for treats that were sugar infested and perfect for promoting diabetes and obesity.

    1. WAVE August 5, 2020 9:24 pm Reply


    2. Chad From Puhu August 6, 2020 2:38 am Reply

      Simple Solution – this is sad, but it’s the truth.

  8. Dt August 5, 2020 9:11 pm Reply

    How about we move everyone at KCOC to the Hyatt, and then put all the tourists inside KCOC.

  9. WAVE August 5, 2020 9:20 pm Reply

    WHO VOTED FOR THIS GUY ???????????





  10. Kathy Deutsch August 6, 2020 4:32 am Reply

    Due to spouse’s work, we rarely take any trip for more than a 7 day week, plus 2 travel days.
    Here in Missouri, there are no tests for people if they are honest and say “this is for travel.” The results cannot be gotten within 3 days of travel.
    And we are not”resort” people. We hike, photograph nature, I paint. My big splurge is the fabric stores, ABC, and Island Soap and Candle. We buy our whole family’s Christmas on Kauai and send it home. The post office laughs when we come in with 10-15 “if it fits it ships “boxes.
    I respect the decisions made, because those in charge need to protect the people. But it would never work for us.

  11. Everythingisawesome August 6, 2020 7:46 am Reply

    Like minds think alike. In this case, the low end of the IQ spectrum. Ige and Kawakami…the bubble is an empty one over their heads.

    Please do it. I’ll make popcorn and watch.

  12. LTEreader August 6, 2020 11:31 am Reply

    The ‘hotel bubble’ idea is what they’ve been doing in Australia. Look it up.

    @ What:
    If someone needs to travel for medical reasons, they can request a quarantine exemption. As for those that just want to travel? They should stay where they’re at right now.
    TESTS: It seems you haven’t been paying attention; test results are taking up to 10 days to get back on the Mainland, and our supply of reagents (needed for testing) was cut back 50% last month by Roche Diagnostics because of the overwhelming demand on the Mainland, thus the quarantine extension.

    @ davidp:
    Why not track them? It’s ONLY 14 days with a disposable devise. Boo hoo, cry me a puddle. Too many visitors & returning residents have already shown they can’t follow the rules and adhere to their quarantine. The temptation is just too much for some, and ‘social influencers’ aren’t helping. They’re coming here, breaking quarantine, taking pictures then posting them a month later laughing at us! Mika Salamanca for example (recently arrested) has 2.3 million followers on YouTube.

    @ DaShadow:
    Do you seriously believe they’ll stay put at the rental for 14 days? Have their groceries delivered? They’re not allowed to rent a car or hire a taxi = how are they going to get to the rental? Are people THAT desperate for a trip to Hawai’i? I’m sure they’ll be just fine postponing until things improve.

    @ Kauaidoug:
    Totally agree with you. Seems many of the visitors we’re getting now are coming because the flights are cheap. They’re taking that long dreamed of vacation to Hawai’i and are NOT going to remain vigilant in any accommodation for 14 days.

    @ J.D.:
    Nobody is trying to “completely ruin the Islands”. What a foolish statement! Our Mayor(s) and Governor are trying to prevent a major outbreak of a rapidly spreading virus that as of today has killed 162,540 in the U.S. There’s currently 2,238,378 active cases in the Country, all are contagious, and thousands more that either haven’t been tested, are asymptomatic, or pre-symptomatic.

    @ SimpleSolutions:
    “Our total cases to date would be a good day in New York.”
    Have you ever considered how few hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators, and medical workers we have compared to New York? Obviously not. Even though they were much better equipped medically, New York had to stack bodies in refrigeration trucks because their morgues couldn’t keep up; apparently Texas is doing the same thing now.
    “We do not have the infrastructure in place to process and convict a flood of visitors.” Exactly why we shouldn’t be allowing visitors right now. Millions refuse to wear masks and/or social distance on the Mainland, and they want to come here and mingle among us? No thanks!

    1. SIMPLE SOLUTIONS August 7, 2020 9:24 pm Reply

      @LTEreader: Yeah I get we don’t have the infrastructure (hospital beds, icu beds, ppe) to handle a good day in New York. But I also realize that Covid-19 is here in the islands, is also sneaking in from main land travel, and more importantly is not going away. All of the restrictions that IGE and Kawakami have put in place is not addressing the Covid issue, they are only postponing the inevitable wide spread of the virus to our islands.

      It seems like the mayor and governor are counting on a vaccine in order to open the state to tourism. The problem is we don’t know when an effective vaccine will be available as vaccines generally take years to develop and viruses mutate over time. Even the flu shots that we get every year are only 50 to 60% effective. If you think about it, AIDS is a virus and has been around for 40 years yet we still don’t have a vaccine for AIDS,

      Four months into this thing we know a few things: 1) the virus is not as deadly as originally thought especially for people without the co-morbilities (aged, diabetics, obesity, cancer patients, auto immune problems); 2) Treatment of the disease is more effective with experience gained these past few months; 3) the death rates are likely inflated due to miscategorization of the cause of death; 4) the death rates are inflated due to the stupidity of the governors in the northeast who mandated that infected people be treated in care homes rather than hospitals (keep in mind in Pennsylvania more people over 100 had died than people under 25 years of age); 5) On average children are least impacted by covid based on death rates.

      The only way to keep Covid-19 from Kauai is to restrict all travel both to and from our beautiful island. Not practical as our economy depends on tourism and our citizens depend on the economy to pay for food, clothing, and shelter. Now that the extra $600 per week in unemployment has expired desperate people are going to become more desperate and despondent. I’d like to see Kawakami and Ige live on a budget based on regular unemployment benefits for a month or until we get back to life as normal.

      Instead of “out of the box” ideas, our mayor needs to focus on “simple solutions” by implementing restrictions for citizens with co-morbilities; organize volunteers to support our co-morbility citizens (shopping, provide meals, socialization); promoting health through diet and exercise; mandate pre-travel testing days before travel to the islands or interisland travel; boosting the infrastructure of hospital beds, icu beds, ppe, and treatments; government support of small business and restaurants (example purchase supplies from mom and pop’s and organize prepared food distribution by purchasing meals from restaurants); and remove all restrictions on Kauai until the number of covid cases reach a certain point (when there are fewer than 20 known cases on the island, as long as those cases are kept in isolation there is little risk to the island at large). To date, we have not had more than 5 active cases in the hospitals on Kauai.

      Any restrictions that the mayor or governor implement needs to be backed by science and statistics, not because it sounds like a good idea.

  13. Sonny August 7, 2020 7:36 am Reply

    I don’t think property owners that live on the mainland and Hawaii should be under the same restrictions as general tourist how can we come and maintain our properties with all these restrictions ! but we’re still paying taxes and adding to the community, surly there could be some kind of wavier with testing and tracking that would allow folks like us to move around and take care of business.

  14. LTEreader August 7, 2020 6:38 pm Reply

    @ Sonny…
    “I don’t think property owners that live on the mainland and Hawaii should be under the same restrictions as general tourist”

    When you teach COVID-19 to exempt off Island owners from the virus, let us know.
    We’ll leave the light on!

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