County still waiting on resort bubble program approval

LIHU‘E — On Sunday, the county held its last free surge testing event, and now the focus is being directed toward vaccine clinics.

As of Dec. 23, Hawai‘i has received a total of 33,450 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, with close to 4,000 shipped to Kaua‘i, according to the Department of Health.

Current vaccination clinics are ongoing for health care workers, first responders and essential workers. Those in this group who have not been registered by their employer or the Department of Health may schedule an appointment at 346-9605.

Those in this group include those working at practices like a dentist, physical therapist, mental health professionals and other non-physician practices.

“As additional vaccine shipments become available, they will continue to be offered to essential workers, then our kupuna over the age of 75, and those who have chronic health conditions,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Monday. “Other groups will be offered the vaccines in the months to come as more become available. At this time, there is no COVID-19 vaccine approved for children.”

Rule 24

The county is still awaiting word on a new program that would allow incoming travelers to test out of quarantine while staying at a resort bubble property.

The county sent the rule for state approval last Wednesday, Dec. 23. In the past, Gov. David Ige had suggested rules would be approved or denied within a day.

If accepted by Ige, incoming travelers with a negative pre-travel test staying at a county-approved resort bubble property would be able to bypass the state-mandated 10-day quarantine with a negative post-arrival COVID-19 test taken after at least three days on island.

The program would also allow travelers to utilize COVID-19 tests not included the state’s trusted partners for both the pre-travel and post-travel test as long as it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization.

Independent of the state’s Safe Travels program, this rule would be specific to those staying at Enhance Movement resort bubble properties. Those who are not staying at a resort bubble, would be required to quarantine the full 1o days at a private residence or hotel property.

This program, if approved, would go into effect Tuesday, January 5, 2021. The Office of the Governor could not provide a timeline on whether Ige will approve the request.

  1. I saw a Vampire once December 29, 2020 12:53 am Reply

    The Moderna which is the older vaccine. But made into a new vaccine. I was just curious to know, if this vaccine had any mental side effects to it. Like say with a few months or maybe even few years, these signs may show up. Sure there are no physical side effects to this vaccine. But may show up in other forms. Herd immunity which is a good thing. But something else shows up. Like a unsuspecting person may just kill himself or his whole family and it may be because of receiving this new vaccine, The Moderna. Think about it. Serious stuffs here.

    1. Loladog December 29, 2020 4:40 pm Reply

      You should go back to school and learn proper grammar first. Then you should educate yourself further, much further. Your stupid claim that vaccination may lead to homicide and suicide is utterly speculative and unfounded. Like Trump won the election.

      1. I saw a Vampire once December 29, 2020 9:34 pm Reply

        You’re strange.

  2. alien December 29, 2020 6:51 am Reply

    The Mayor is certainly showing he only wants Rich people to travel here, Local people can’t afford to pay $250 per night for three nights if they need to travel to care for their parents ect.

  3. kauaiboy December 29, 2020 6:56 am Reply

    The resorts silly enough to consider being “resort bubbles” are desperate for ANY travelers stupid enough to be confined for 3 days and then pay big bucks for a test to get out of jail.

    Why go through that dog-and-pony show when visitors can get a single pre-travel test and be free to enjoy Maui, the Big Island or Oahu without any quarantine?

    Also consider what will happen when a resident of one of the bubble hotels contracts the virus and dies because they will be consistently exposed to travelers who may carry the virus. Lawsuits will fly, naming the Count and the bubble resort. Oh boy.

    Who ever cooked up the idea of a “bubble resort”?

    Not the sharpest tool in the shed…

    1. Bubble boy December 29, 2020 7:15 pm Reply

      This was our fearful leader Derek “bubble boy” kawakami’s idea. Annnd the county “partnered” with these resorts to get them geo-fenced and approved for imprisoned… I mean quarantined visitors. Which fell on its face when ige opened up hawaii. Then cowerkami was crying about opening without more testing. Then opted out. Now he’s trying to get this bubble back in the mix. It’s the worst idea yet. Just shelter the vulnerable and give us business owners a fighting chance to survive on our island.

  4. Jay Williamson December 29, 2020 3:24 pm Reply

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the bubble resorts have cleaning ladies, laundry service, grounds service, food delivery, staff, etc. etc. coming and going in and out of the bubble resort every day? Aren’t these professionals being exposed to a high concentration of visitors who may have become infected at the airport or during their flight?

  5. Gandy December 29, 2020 4:21 pm Reply

    Seems so stupid. What a waste. Kind of like why destroy Kauai’s economy. What a waste.
    Why would I need to stay at a bubble property when I own a condo.

  6. Bubble Bad December 29, 2020 11:55 pm Reply

    Just give it up. It is, and always was a bad idea. The name of the program should be “Prisoners of Paradise”. Again, why would ANYONE chose to come here, when there are so many other options with these absurd restrictions. Are the other islands any less safe for their residents, based on the numbers, because they participate in the Safe Travels program?
    At least their economies have a chance, but even now, and as a result of Kawakami’s opting out, other islands suffer from his scare tactics to scare away tourists. Tourists can’t decipher all the rules, and when they read about Kauai, many think the other islands don’t want those bad people from the mainland coming here. Reminds one of the story of Capt. Cook, only this one is not justified by the facts. Even the Lt Gov has stated that the Safe Travels program, by the numbers, is a success. That is a fact. He has also said that Kauai’s lack of adequate health facilities is overstated from reality. If you don’t have enough ICU beds for an island community of this size, then why not add some? Other places with limited ICU bed capacities, have spent their CARES money on building additional beds during the pandemic, and now have them up and running for this second wave. Instead, you use the issue to create fear. Wouldn’t it be better to have invested in better health facilities for now, as well as for the future of Kauai’s residents?
    Any why is the Mayor so against vacation rentals, owned by tax paying owners, supplying quality employment to maintain them, and offering a much safer place to stay that is more appealing to travelers. People feel safer in a private home or condo, than any hotel. They can control their space, eat at home if they feel safer, and still contribute to the economic well being of the island by paying taxes into the deep deficit hole that we have dug deeper by the unnecessary quarantine currently in place. One has to ask what the real reason is that the Mayor does not like vacation rentals, or tourists from the mainland, which is still the United States, last time I checked. Instead, you support opening up travel to Japan, to jump start the economy with people who don’t generally travel to Kauai. Why not support Americans, and encourage the opening of vacation rentals as a first, and preferred step, into full throttle tourism. At least they well bring in the much needed money into the island economy. Keeping people in resorts, awaiting a second test, kills the vacation rental segment. You are ignorant of the business if you think people will come, and spend days sitting in lock down, while waiting to go to a rental of their choice. A rental where they feel safer. Residents should see these travelers as a safer option, since they will not be corralled into a bubble resort, and then expecting hard working local people to serve them.
    How about worker safety? Do you really care as much about the local community as you profess with this latest policy? If you want a second test, then do it the right way. Test them at the airport when they arrive, or let them get tested in 3 days while they are self quarantining in a hotel of their choice, or better yet, in a vacation rental of their choice.
    How much better would your program be in finding people who might test positive after arriving on Kauai? Is it enough to justify this community lock down on travel.
    It is time to support a unified statewide program that is easy to explain, easier to enforce, and does not separate us from the other islands. Sure, how you are going about it is a good way to get yourself in the news, but it is not helping anyone survive in the community.

  7. Carol Ann Bagley December 30, 2020 2:50 pm Reply


    As a part time resident of Kauai, I watch with great interest the many changing plans that Mayor Kawakami has put forth. I understand the need and wish to keep COVID 19 under control on Kauai. However, looking at especially the bubble plans, both the one he has spoken of and the new one that is being considered, I do not think either has merit.
    ***For example, a proposal from a member of your COVID 19 team to have visitors take the NAAT test 96 hours prior to coming to Kauai and then have the visitor take the antibody OR quick test upon arrival at the airport seems to be the most efficient way of allowing the visitor to take two tests.
    NAAT test 96 hours before arrival -> if NAAT test negative, antibody OR Quick test given -> if Quick test negative, visitor is free to enjoy visit. SIMPLE and EFFICIENT.
    The above example would accomplish what Mayor Kawakami is wanting as I understand it. There have been so few visitors who test negative upon departure and positive upon arrival that there would seem to be no problem in allowing those who are waiting for Quick test results to rent a car and be asked to order pickup meals only and go straight to the facility they are staying in until they receive test results. THIS IS A SIMPLE AND EFFICIENT PROCESS.
    I have heard of another process that is being discussed that has many flaws. Visitors would take NAAT test 72 hours before departure. ****visitors have had difficulty getting results in a timely manner. Then upon arrival visitors would be taken to a bubble hotel to “Quarantine” for three days, and after three days take the Quick test. I***the bubble hotels which are quite expensive with room charges from $300 to $500 a day. Visitors would need to eat at the facilities they are housed in which would add to the expense for the traveler. After they have been housed in this manner and paid all expenses, they would be allowed to go to the facility they had originally booked. **** these bubble hotels are described as supporting quarantining. This is not in line with what the CDC calls quarantine. It seems as if while on these properties, visitors will mix and could contaminate each other even with masks and distancing. How will they be transported to the bubble? In a bus which puts them in close contact with one another? THIS HAS THE DISADVANTAGE OF HAVING TOO MANY STEPS IN THE PROCESS WHICH WILL DISCOURAGE THE TRAVELER FROM VISITING THE ISLAND. Perhaps that may be what the end game is. Would you want to go through this process to visit when there is another process written about above that is simpler and accomplishes the same?

    Thank you,
    Carol Bagley, RN, PhD (part time resident of Kauai and Alaska)

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