State to approve Kaua‘i resort bubble

  • Contributed

    The AQUA wrist band device is being considered for hotels to use to keep track of their quarantined guests.

LIHU‘E — Gov. David Ige is set to approve a voluntary “Resort Bubble” program on Kaua‘i in the hopes to bring tourism revenue back to the county this week.

The “Enhanced Movement Quarantine Program,” more commonly known as the “Resort Bubble,” will have safety policies to protect employees and guests all while allowing quarantined travelers to take advantage of the resort property, including pools and on-site restaurants. This is Mayor’s Emergency Rule No. 16.

“Because the virus continues to threaten our communities, we don’t know when the mandatory quarantine can be lifted,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Monday. “As we’ve learned, this virus does not follow specific dates in the calendar, so we have to be ready to adapt and adjust.”

Guests will be outfitted with an electronic bracelet called AQUA (Active Quarantine User Ally) by the company Hub Culture. Using geofencing technology, guests will be under an electronic quarantine that will monitor their movement on the property using GPS and Bluetooth signaling.

If a guest were to leave the property or tamper with the bracelet, the tracking service would alert hotel security and the Kaua‘i Police Department.

Kawakami said the bubble is “not the final solution, but a tool” to bring in tourism. Further, he said this is an “added tool, not a replacement” to the state-mandated two-week quarantine that is currently in place through the end of this month for inter-island and trans-Pacific travelers.

Kawakami said he’s “still supportive” of the quarantine and the state’s proposed pre-travel testing program that is suppose to launch October 1. Yesterday, Ige told The Star-Advertiser he expects to again delay reopening.

“At the same time, we understand the need to address the economic hardship facing our tourism-based community, while also preserving the safety of our residents,” Kawakami said.

Resort employees will also be subject to rules and guidelines, including social distancing and masks.

Hawai‘i currently has the highest “insured unemployment rate” in the nation for the week that ended August 22, according to the U.S. Department of Labor last week. This insured unemployment rate represents the number of people receiving unemployment insurance as a percentage of the labor force.

Hawai‘i’s insured unemployment rate was 20.3% for the week ending Aug. 22 was followed by Puerto Rico at 16.7% and Nevada at 16%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 13.1% in July.

Last Thursday, the state has seen 282,897 claims filed statewide, with 174,233 claims paid, according to the state.

Yesterday, the Hawai‘i Department of Health reported 80 new positive cases in the state. This includes one new case on Maui, two cases on Moloka‘i, seven on Hawai‘i Island and 70 on O‘ahu. Kaua‘i does not have any active cases but has five people on a close contact quarantine for a case reported on O‘ahu.

As of Monday, the state recorded 6,987 active cases statewide, with a total of 3,693 patients classified by health officials as “released from isolation.”

This brings the state’s cumulative total to 10,779 cases statewide. One previous case was removed due to updated laboratory information.

  1. Wally Roberts September 15, 2020 3:18 am Reply

    No thanks. I would take a pass on that one. Welcome to your extremely high-priced vacation prison.

  2. Robert Gerard Breynaert September 15, 2020 3:56 am Reply

    Has the Country published a set of resorts that qualify to be bubbles?

  3. nobody September 15, 2020 6:03 am Reply

    Are the workers to be quarantined on site as well?

  4. Ohana September 15, 2020 6:25 am Reply

    COVID playgrounds, sponsored by a hotel near you.

    And the newly arrived COVID positive guest infects all others as they are ready to get out in the community.

    All bubbles failed: from retirement homes to prisons.

    Are the hotel workers going to isolate at the hotel after work hours and live there without seeing family? Or wear biohazard suits? I don’t think so.

    Worst idea ever

    What’s wrong with testing? In room quarantine until results arrive.

    1. Everythingisawesome September 15, 2020 3:35 pm Reply

      Excellent point. If there was an effective, 100% bulletproof way to prevent the spread of a VIRUS, it would already be implemented in prisons and nursing facilities.

  5. Simple Solutions September 15, 2020 8:06 am Reply

    Is this an April Fools Joke? Are we being pranked?

    Is the mayor going to pay people to come to the concentration camp? Who is going to come for a “bubble resort” where you can’t see all that Kauai has to offer? What business is this going to generate around the island outside of the “bubble”?

    Are the “bubble resort” employees going to be quarantined at the resort or are they going to bring the virus home to their family, friends, and the greater community of Kauai?

    Alright mayor….go for broke on your bubble resort….maybe you can provide the entertainment for the internees with your tik tok dance moves. For the rest of us, we will be waiting in our cars for “free” food and waiting for the bubble to burst.

  6. Major Lee Hung September 15, 2020 8:31 am Reply

    This is a new level of dumb idea.

  7. Randy Kansas September 15, 2020 8:32 am Reply

    ha ha ha…….good luck with that…

  8. Joe September 15, 2020 8:38 am Reply

    Waste of time and effort that should have been spent on rapid testing/or pre-travel test screening. Who in their right mind is going to come to Hawaii to be willingly held hostage on the resorts property. The only benefit I can see is the visitor tax revenue for state and counties. Some employees will go back to work. A very minuscule amount of tourism dollars will go to struggling local business. I’d love to hear an argument for how this is going to help.

    1. Jana September 15, 2020 4:07 pm Reply

      spot on!

  9. Paulo September 15, 2020 8:42 am Reply

    Since the visitors will be confined to their bubble area, it does not seem that it will help the island economy very much. But mostly my worry is for those employees working, even with masks and distancing as much as possible. They are going to be in harms way. Then they go home with whatever germs they may have come in contact with.

    Not that we don’t need employment. It’s a difficult trade off.

  10. JOHN⁹ R JACOBS September 15, 2020 8:51 am Reply

    What the governor is doing to the great state of Hawaii seems to me to be unconstitutional and borderline criminal. If you are locking down people and closing businesses, with people losing their jobs and their health benefits, you damn well should be paying them.

  11. JOHN⁹ R JACOBS September 15, 2020 8:55 am Reply

    I saw a movie a long time ago it was about a prison and the prison had no walls, but the prisoners wore a collar and if they roamed to far from the prison the collar exploded. Is that what we are moving to.? End the lockdown now.

  12. JRB September 15, 2020 9:02 am Reply

    This is ridiculous. Do rapid testing before they board their flights over here. It is working for Tahiti. IGe is ruining this state. Fully open Oct 1st with the 72 hr test before arriving on island. A resort bubble is not the answer. what a waste of time and money.

  13. Sue September 15, 2020 9:20 am Reply

    This is NOT going to help the mom and pop stores, the restaurants, etc. It will only help big corporations. Just pandering to the airlines and hotels.

    1. Tony Albertoni September 15, 2020 3:35 pm Reply

      This won’t help airlines because for the ten people a day who come here, it will make NO difference to big corporations. This is a hairbrained idea, and it should be exchanged for something that actually works.

  14. Surfer September 15, 2020 10:02 am Reply

    Kauai to be the guinea pig in starting to open tourism to Hawaii. I hope it is safe and all employees are careful not to spread any of the Coronavirus

  15. Carlotta Jay September 15, 2020 10:44 am Reply

    How can this be a “solution tool” when the employees although being under the quarantine guidelines are being exposed constantly to these travelers and then going home where others in their home are mingling among the community? How are the staffs families being monitored? This is NOT a solution it’s an UNNECESSARY ACCESS POINT to our island that is RECKLESS AND NAIVE! PLEASE DONT ALLOW!!

  16. the big kahuna September 15, 2020 11:06 am Reply

    We appreciate the Mayors creative idea, however if the quarantine is still in place it sounds like only a few hotels that will act in concert with the Police State will see any new revenues. Many businesses will not see relief needed and will likely fail. Testing is the key prior to entry and as a condition to exit quarantine based on facts and medical science. Anything short of testing places everyone at risk.

  17. Jeanne Murlhy September 15, 2020 11:53 am Reply

    Have pre test site arranged we believe….bags are packed….husband even had volunteered services as RN, but no call. Ready to go Nov 7th……want to bring our dollars to help local economy, just as we ventured immediately into NYC after 911. Share our good fortune to boost locals, giving us in return our memories, whatever the new norm is, as we had with Hawaii for the past 30 years annually. Aloha.

    1. WAVE September 15, 2020 6:44 pm Reply

      HappyBeautifulReception HERE ON GODS ISLAND !:)

  18. numilalocal September 15, 2020 12:29 pm Reply

    What about Kalapaki Beach? How are residents supposed to feel safe on the beach (or in the water?) with visitors at the hotel around?

  19. John September 15, 2020 12:29 pm Reply

    Yep, open up Kauai to all the infected tourists so that the corporations and millionaires can keep earning – won’t someone think of the poor shareholders!?! – but heaven forbid our government open up our schools. I guess they want to groom yet another generation of poor, uneducated locals to work minimum wage “jobs” at these hotels serving rich people their Maitais 🙁

  20. Everythingisawesome September 15, 2020 12:57 pm Reply

    “Guests will be outfitted with an electronic bracelet…If a guest were to…tamper with the bracelet, the tracking service would alert hotel security”

    What if someone got something like, I don’t know, poop, on the bracelet from changing a diaper, or something. Do they still have to wear the same bracelet for the rest of “electronic quarantine”? Asking for a friend.

    More seriously, did the mayor not read any of the comments in TGI the last time this “bubble” idea was floated? I don’t think there is a single person, resident or visitor, that isn’t an elected official, that could point out a positive aspect of this plan. The residents don’t win. The visitors don’t win. The hotels don’t win. The hotel staff doesn’t win. Local businesses don’t win. Tour companies don’t win. Rental car companies don’t win. Does anybody win? The mayor is the only one who wins in the ‘bubble resort’ game because in the next election he will say what a fabulous success his idea was…how the ‘bubble’ plan was responsible for ‘jumpstarting tourism’ in Kauai…and nobody will remember otherwise…except the 8 visitors from Nevada that had their money stolen in exchange for 11 hours worth of plane rides and two weeks in an electronic prison.

    Does the mayor have a financial interest in the company that makes “AQUA”? Is this really Dahilig’s idea??

    1. HAD September 15, 2020 4:44 pm Reply

      Wash the poop off.

  21. Tony September 15, 2020 3:39 pm Reply

    Now, we know that the mayor is a smart man, so the question would be why he would be pushing something so unworkable (as in VERY few tourists will take advantage of this bubble-brained idea). The answer has to be because he just wants to come across as a politician who is trying to do “something’, whether it makes sense or not. And it doesn’t.

  22. HAD September 15, 2020 4:43 pm Reply

    I think this is a stepping stone and it will help. There are people who will want to travel here to stay at a resort and there are people who will get to go back to work as their unemployment is beginning to run out. I understand the nuances of the situation especially the potential bad ones but I’m hopeful this will be a good step.

  23. Bobo September 15, 2020 5:05 pm Reply

    Governor Ige and Mayor Kawakami need to get a grip on reality. Both have lost they’re minds. How would they like it if they went on vacation, had to wear a tracking device and on top of that quarantine for 14 days at one hotel! Common Man you guys making Hawaii look stupid. Open it up already!!

  24. jl September 15, 2020 5:11 pm Reply

    I don’t get it, people WITHOUT a test can run around a resort (like prisoners) and potentially infect people and isolate contributing to the economy to that local doomed resort, but people WITH a negative test can’t come and stay in private homes or condos and safely contribute to economy? Makes zero sense to me. Kauai’s leadership needs basic training, god help us all.

  25. WAVE September 15, 2020 6:35 pm Reply






  26. Jai September 15, 2020 6:36 pm Reply

    Inspiration from on high says this program is a ‘calculated risk’ that denser brains would be willing to go with in hopes of economic salvation at the expense of our kupuna and others that are likely to suffer. Especially since Kaua‘i County has a track record of not paying enough attention to critical safety issues, this wreaks of disaster waiting to POP! We are getting there are blind spots here. Recommended Action: Think outside the bubble!! #safetyfirst #saveourkupuna

  27. No Can September 15, 2020 7:22 pm Reply

    What is the definition of Property? How do you stop a violator when they try to access the beach in front of his room while non quarantine users enjoy the ocean? I would hate to be the Security officer answering this type of call..

  28. smedley September 16, 2020 4:11 am Reply

    I bet if we look closely, we will find the “bubble resorts” are big contributors to Kawakami’s election campaign.

  29. Qwertty September 16, 2020 8:54 am Reply

    This virus spreads easily. Its too much risk to chance bringing invited spread. Start to petition with protest for Kauai health and livelihood. All except one comment above is relevant. I’ve witness rapid spread from Texas to Oahu how devastatingly easy transmission quickly spead of a life changing magnitude.The recovery will be far worse for the island’s stability once highly contagion is hosted here. Sadly this concept should be halted. Not even strict monitoring will prevent an outbreak.

  30. C.M. September 16, 2020 10:19 am Reply

    Wave? All capitals? Where do we live?
    More people will become infected with this idea. Our mayor is
    thinking. That is a good thing. He has to know Kauai does not
    win – big business somewhere will be counting nickels.
    Wave will be capitalizing notes in the ward.

  31. Smedley September 16, 2020 11:17 am Reply

    Governor Ige and Mayor Kawakami have totally blown it. The Hawaii new cases/100,000 are currently higher than California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Alaska even though those states are relatively “open”. These states represent about 80% of Hawaii’s tourist business. Arizona particularly is almost wide-open with no quarantines, open restaurants and hotels. All these states experienced a spike in cases back in May followed by a huge decline. Ige and Kawakami have only delayed the spike thereby prolonging the economic hardship.

    Alaska has been able to control access for months by requiring a negative COVID test. Hawaii only has four airports to control. How hard is for Ige and Kawakami to implement the Alaska plan?

    There is only one difference between the Hawaii and Alaska governors and mayors: political affiliation. My bet is that the need for a Hawaii quarantine will magically disappear on November 4th.

  32. Smedley September 16, 2020 11:24 am Reply

    This is from the Tahiti Tourisme website and seems to be working for them:

    Since July 15th, 2020, quarantine measures are lift and French Polynesia’s borders re-open to international tourism from all countries. All travelers are subject to the following mandatory conditions:

    Prior to boarding:
    Proof of a negative RT-PCR test (list of approved and non approved tests) carried out within three days prior to their international air departure;
    Present the receipt of the health registration on the platform (Electronic Travel Information System) ;
    During the stay:
    Self-test 4 days after arrival in The Islands of Tahiti.

  33. Bbqbob September 16, 2020 12:40 pm Reply

    Democratic brain deads came up with this one. Hawaii is a want not a need in life. Therefore no one has to go there. Who would pony out funds to go there with those restrictions? Your not going to see the hotel, you are going to see the beauty and culture. If you cant do that.. why go? Hope they dont buy too many bracelets in advance. Dont see too many people getting in this line to become a prisoner. This benefit no one.. not even the locals who are desperate..

  34. Frequent visitor September 16, 2020 3:31 pm Reply

    Seriously, I have been laughing for ten minutes. No way would I spend $5-7k to wear a convict bracelet…. are you crazy?? Just do the rapid pre-test prior to travel or wait for a vaccine, we travel to kauai a few times a year. We are not willing to risk the safety of the people that live on kauai for our good time…. seriously not worth it either way.

  35. GC September 16, 2020 4:56 pm Reply

    So the average Hawaiian vacation is 8 to 10 days. So who has the time and money to go quarantine for 14 days then go have your vacation. No thanks

  36. Stephanie December 9, 2020 6:56 pm Reply

    What about the employees that work in the bubble, then go home, to the store, out to eat, to visit family & friends… what is the difference???

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