Statewide Safe Travels bill is alive

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A Hawaiian Airlines flight makes its final descent into Lihu‘e Airport past the Hokuala Ocean Course Tuesday.

LIHU‘E — A bill that would create a uniform Safe Travels policy across the islands is moving forward in the state House, still with some hesitation from lawmakers, highly supported by the tourism and business sectors and opposed by vocal Kaua‘i officials and residents (see Gary Hooser’s comments, A8).

In its latest iteration, HB1286, amended on Tuesday by the House Committee on Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness and the Committee on Labor and Tourism, establishes COVID-19 testing requirements, exemptions and costs of post-arrival self-quarantining for the state. This bill would effectively restrict Kaua‘i from having separate rules as it has since November.

Kaua‘i has received some flack from House Speaker Scott Saiki, who in the past has called independent county rules confusing. Saiki is among those who introduced the measure.

Mayor Derek Kawakami, in a statement, reiterated the point that Kaua‘i faces different hurdles than other islands.

“We have always said that every island is unique in its own set of challenges,” Kawakami said. “Kaua‘i is the smallest county in the state with the least amount of resources, and we base every decision we make with this in mind.”

As of Tuesday, Kaua‘i currently has one active COVID-19 case for a cumulative case count of 210, including 179 confirmed locally, one probable and 30 tested off-island but reported after arrival.

“Our county’s response to the pandemic has resulted in the least fatalities and the lowest case counts,m” Kawakami said. “This has allowed our Department of Health and hospitals to administer vaccines to our residents, and has allowed businesses and activities to operate at Tier 4 — our least-restrictive tier.”

County Councilmember Felicia Cowden, chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, testified at the hearing Tuesday, explaining her concerns about the measure.

“I do not feel comfortable with this bill,” Cowden said. “A critical piece for me is that the state should set the minimum threshold, not the maximum.”

This bill, Cowden said, “disempowers the counties” and removes a safety net the county has surrounded itself in.

“We live calm, and in the six weeks that we were open, we were not,” Cowden said.

From the state’s Department of Health’s perspective, Dr. Sarah Kemble reiterated that a 14-day quarantine still remains the most-effective means of stopping the spread of the virus.

Kemble said the state’s testing supply levels and staffing are resources that need to be considered.

“Right now, I think there is greater attention on the travel-associated risk because of the new variant viruses, and that is a true problem. However, what amplifies disease in our community and ultimately leads to the burden of disease where we see hospitalizations and deaths has more to do with community transmission.”

Trusted partners are required to send testing data to the state, but Kemble said that hasn’t been the case.

“It’s been difficult to draft conclusions from our data because we don’t have clear denominators of who is getting tested coming into the state,” Kemble said. “However, (of) the results, not a lot have been submitted.”

With an increase in travel-related cases, community-related cases also go up, Kemble said.

Kaua‘i’s Dr. Lee Evslin urged that now is not the time to enforce less-strict rules.

“Experts around the county, and around the world for that matter, are saying ‘don’t loosen up right now.’ The variants are out there. We are seeing the variant spreading in the Mainland,” Evslin said.

The Hawai‘i Lodging &Tourism Association and Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i both voiced support on behalf of its stakeholders.

“We need to strike the right balance,” HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann said.

Hannemann said the bill provides incentives and provides a clearer direction for tourists.

“We now have to start pivoting from ensuring that health and safety standards are in place…and at the same time start opening up for people to come here,” Hannemann said.

A recent HLTA study indicated that “the single-most-prevalent reason that stopped travelers from visiting Hawai‘i was that testing requirements were unreasonable,” Hannemann’s testimony said.

Further, the chamber, which represents over 2,000 businesses, said that revenues have dropped an average of 45% from 2019 to 2020, and many businesses have had to cut staff and even close.

“Without tourists returning to the state, it is extremely clear that our economy will continue to wane with no relief in sight,” the chamber wrote. “Given our reliance on tourism, we must find a way to bring people back to our state to breathe life back to our local businesses.”

The bill, taking amendments from the DOH, passed through both the House Committee on Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness and Committee on Labor and Tourism.

From the PDP, there were eight votes for the measure, some with reservations, and a “no” from Rep. Tina Wildberger, who said this is an example of O‘ahu-centric politics being imposed on neighbor islands.

“Federal Emergency Management Agency learned a lot of lessons from not allowing local, on-the-ground leaders, to make decisions about their needs,” Wildberger said. “Just because we’re going to try to put uniform rules in place does not make reasonable people get on airplanes and fly here and magically recover our economy.”

  1. I saw a Vampire once February 10, 2021 3:27 am Reply

    I think that the state DOH should be in control of the COVID-19 testing requirements. Leaving this into the hands of the county is relying on too many unchecked answers and questions to be concerned with. By allowing a central body to oversee the testing program, you would cover all basis of concern and allow a state run organization to implement this program. And I think it is a good idea to point this out now. That way the county do not make up its own protocols and think they are the correct measure. This is basing on the numbers alone. Lowest in the state. Still leaving this decision up to the state to decide centralizes the issue and by means an accurate take on it all the way through.

  2. Kara Thrace February 10, 2021 4:35 am Reply

    We have already established that a one pre-test policy is not enough. There have been cases that have slipped through cracks in the system by not implementing a requirement of a negative test in hand before admittance on an airplane from the start. Let alone a post arrival test after so many hours of quarantine, that which Mayor Kawakami advocated from the beginning.

    With variants already abound, no guarantees about those who are vaccinated still spreading the virus or the vaccines protecting against variants, and federal guidance of the CDC stating now is not the time to relax, this bill is a death sentence.

    Tourists’ vacations are not worth the risk to the health of our fragile community.

    1. Da Shadow February 10, 2021 3:27 pm Reply

      how about residents’ jobs? elitists like you, who don’t need to work, are ok stifling and killing businesses.
      have you given any thought to your ohana who are struggling??

      1. I saw a Vampire once February 10, 2021 10:57 pm Reply

        I don’t think so. Struggling? Democracy is based on representation. But the candidates are in it for something else. Who ever heard of going by TGI and relying on their news stories to pull them through? Obviously the bills or paychecks for county councilmembers are not CIP. They are not paid from where they should be paid. Fake news. Fake pay. If they are paid, fake pay from someone else. In short, fake legislative body with no real knowledge of the community. Just a show to others. You’re probably a Tom Brady Fan. Still yet on NFL report. How far did he get up the ladder. In NFL? Yep. That’s you guys. Fake work, just like the county councilmember you voted for. Fake.

      2. Kara Thrace February 11, 2021 5:01 am Reply

        Show me a system that prioritizes safely returning our children to a 5 day in-person classroom schedule, and then we can talk about getting our mothers and fathers back to work.

        1. Kara Thrace February 11, 2021 3:55 pm Reply

          You guys are so cute with your buzzwords and fancy acronyms 🙂

        2. Kara Thrace February 11, 2021 3:56 pm Reply

          However, your assumptions are my favorite.

        3. Stephen February 11, 2021 4:52 pm Reply


          All significant studies that have been undertaken to look at the issue of kids being in school vs out of school during the pandemic have shown that children are much less likely to contract and spread COVID-19 in the classroom when proper mask wearing protocols are in place than they are to spread the virus in their home. Kids have been in school throughout most of the world during this school year without any major outbreaks. This is especially true of primary/elementary school and middle school.

          Let’s use science to guide our decisions and not excessive fear or media hype.

  3. Ben Halpren February 10, 2021 4:48 am Reply

    No mention of Vaccines,. Doesn’t that play a role? Tests are getting very good and very quick.
    A negative test and proof of Vaccination before getting on the plane and retesting on arrival at Lihue. Two false negatives, would be very unlikely. Having a uniform statewide regulation would be a great relief. to travelers and businesses. I think the Kauai model has been very effective, but it needs some adjustment given the new circumstances.

    1. Erzincanli February 11, 2021 5:34 pm Reply

      Kara Thrace: Just look at the private schools in Kauai. They have been operating all the time with no COVID transmission. I am going to guess that your beloved mayor’s children are also going to private schools. Only Public schools are taking advantage of the fear and causing long lasting problems for children and working families. Life is full of risks if you are afraid of everything lock yourself up.

  4. J.D. February 10, 2021 5:13 am Reply

    The Islands should be as open for business. Last summer I said many businesses in Kauai will look like coco palms if they close the Island. It is happening. We are talking about covid 19. That means for over 20 years we have been dealing with 19 variations of the corona virus. It is a variation of the flu which mutates every year also. Funny how it cured the flu.

  5. YuCalJoe February 10, 2021 6:02 am Reply

    I have a reservation to visit Kauai in April of this year. But that visit is still questionable due to COVID numbers and rules. While I really wish Kauai was fully open, I appreciate the level of caution being taken due to Kauai’s limited healthcare resources. I for one do not want to get COVID, and I surely do not want to be a person that transmits it anyone else. This is how I live now in my home state. I take precautions, but I still live my life without putting my self and others at risk. To me, it’s the integrity of people that is the issue in many aspects of our lives today. Bad decision making is the real pandemic our nation currently suffers from. As a result, we are a divided nation that is forced to overreact to the COVID pandemic because some do not believe in the risks and in general refuse to follow any form of common sense. So rules are put in place that increase the mental and financial costs of living, and violators make us all suffer. In summary, if I have to cancel my trip to keep myself and others healthy and safe from COVID, so be it.

  6. shirley February 10, 2021 6:41 am Reply

    It so frustrating to hear “We live calm, and in the six weeks that we were open, we were not” This person obviously has not missed a paycheck and still has great medical benefits. In December, Gov. Ige announced that thousands of Hawaii state employees will be furloughed for two days a month starting Jan. 1, 2021 in an effort to balance the state budget, the furlough did not happen. Now Gov. Ige is saying that State workers may be furloughed for less than 2 days per month. Really? What a slap in the face to the people that have invested in businesses. Many people in the private sector have lost their businesses or hanging on by a thin thread. There seems to be little concern for the small business population which has been a major part in driving the economy.

  7. R. Skinner February 10, 2021 7:04 am Reply

    We have very few cases here on Kauai but at what cost? The morning news is saying cases on the mainland are down 35% . With more testing and people getting used to precautions I ask..”When will it be time to open our island and get people back to work?”

  8. Peter February 10, 2021 7:38 am Reply

    Mayor Kawakami and all the decision influencers around him have not lost a dime during this pandemic. I also believe that none of them could run a successful business. They are politicians and bureaucrats who have no sympathy for small business owners.

  9. Palani February 10, 2021 7:41 am Reply

    It’s time for Emperor Kawakami to be brought to heel. Kauai is special, but no more special than the other islands.

  10. John Patt February 10, 2021 8:02 am Reply

    We are in a race to get the vaccine distributed before the new COVID forms strike. Bringing in contagious tourists, and HB1286 will certainly do so, will wreak havoc and death among our families and neighbors.
    Why can’t we wait until we get our people vaccinated? Why must we rush this change through now?

  11. Beverly Olsen February 10, 2021 8:12 am Reply

    How difficult is it for our State representatives to learn from examples all over the world that countries have had to shut down more than once because they let up on Covid restrictions too soon? States on the Mainland who were reluctant to enforce stronger restrictions led to an increase of cases and hospitalizations?
    Why do our lawmakers not listen to the experts, who say “now is not the time to let our guard down”?
    Kauai Counties record of low case count of the virus and no deaths speaks for itself.
    Mahalo Nui Loa to Mayor Kawakami, District Health Officer Janet Berreman and the DOH leadership for keeping Kauai safe.

    1. Stephen February 10, 2021 2:41 pm Reply

      You must be wealthy and not rely on any significant income from the tourism industry. If that were my case, I’d also say “Let’s close down forever”, “keep tourists out so we can have this paradise to ourselves”. Unfortunately, I rely on tourism income and I’m currently in financial ruin. I’m not saying it should be a free for all, let anyone in without testing and let them do whatever they want. I just want us to get back into the Safe Travels program. A pre-arrival test will catch most infected people, and those that it misses will largely be participating in low risk activities anyway. Yes, our number will go up a bit, but our hospitals will not overflow and people will not be dying at high rates. Let’s use some common sense and also have some compassion for those that are being devastated financially!

      1. Deedee February 10, 2021 10:54 pm Reply

        You are out of your mind to suggest you making money off tourists is worth more people falling ill.

        1. Sara February 11, 2021 5:00 pm Reply

          You do realize that COVID-19 is not going to disappear, right? Probably ever. There will always be little clusters/outbreaks here and there. We can’t hide from it forever. We have to learn to live with it. Keep cases low, keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed, prevent as many deaths as possible. We all need to get vaccinated to get control of it, but it won’t go away. The only way to completely keep it from the island will be to stay closed forever. The question is, will the majority feel that it will be worth the cost to stay closed forever? If so, then that’s that. But, I doubt it. At some point the majority will demand that we open up our island, live our lives, and deal with the virus in a reasonable way, by testing prior to arrival, and quarantining those who become ill.

  12. KauaiFarmMan February 10, 2021 10:26 am Reply

    It’s about time our state leaders used some common sense to end this economic collapse. There’s no need to restrict our freedom of travel. What has our County government done to beef up our medical facilities capacity?
    With the vaccine out, all high risk people can get it and hide at home if they so choose. Let the rest of us live our lives and reclaim our businesses. Now let’s end this non sensical mask policy. Healthy asymptomatic people can not pass the virus. If you’re sick or scared stay home and let the rest of us enjoy what life we have left. Our freedom is being restricted by a not so dangerous threat. The media hype has all of you living in a state of perpetual fear. You should be scared of losing freedoms we may never get back. Freedom over Security!
    Free men don’t ask for Permission!!
    Fight Medical Tyranny! Stand up people! This pandemic response is a false flag operation. History will prove this. And have fun with the unknown repercussions of this Frankenstein vaccine which is an experiment on the human immune system. Making healthy , not at risk individuals being forced into an experimental vaccine is a much higher risk and danger. When all of you are dropping like flies from auto immune disease triggered by this vaccine, we will see where the real danger lies. Forcing healthy people to take a vaccine for a virus that kills less then .02% of people is Medical Tyranny!! Go get some sun, exercise, eat healthy and take vitamins. Why don’t we address the obesity problem here and the extremely unhealthy diet most have. Instead of celebrating over weight children , teach them about nutrition. Stop telling us how to live and breathe!!! FREEDOM!!!

    1. John Patt February 10, 2021 3:09 pm Reply

      Healthy, asymptomatic people DO pass the virus.

  13. Karen Catalano February 10, 2021 10:32 am Reply

    When is this supposed to be decided By?

  14. Cbagley February 10, 2021 11:06 am Reply

    First of all in the discussion of Safe Travels program, there is no mention of the wonderful fact that many of us trying to get to our residence are fully vaccinated and hv had 2 weeks to allow our antibodies to grow. It is time to put a plan in place for this. Of course we will take the pretest and wear masks. We are just as motivated as you to protect the island. We object to hving to spend $2000 to stay in a bubble hotel when logically we are safer in our own residence.
    Please address vaccinated travelers.
    Get up the gumption to allow others to come to Kauai. The percentage of tourists who would be positive is extremely low. Help those who need to return to work to do so.
    Think about who your resources are. A retired pediatrician and a mayor with no medical background. This mayor seems to be more motivated to allow for team sports than anything else.

  15. Sara February 10, 2021 2:10 pm Reply

    I don’t understand why we’re fighting against this. How long will we remain closed? And at what cost? The only thing that makes sense to me is there must be some loud voices in the mayors ear – wealthy people that don’t rely on any form of tourism income – that would prefer to have the island to themselves and keep tourists away as long as possible. They’re using fear as an excuse for their selfish agenda.

    The Safe Travels program works. Does it prevent all infections from entering the state? No. But it prevents the vast majority. Look at the other islands. Are any of their healthcare resources overtaxed? No. Are their rates of infection out of control? No. Sure, they have more cases than our island, but c’mon, we’ve only had 7 hospitalizations throughout the entire pandemic. 7! And only one death, in an elderly gentleman with medical co-morbidities. There were 547 deaths on Kauai in 2020. Why didn’t we do everything possible to prevent all of those deaths? Should we outlaw water activities so that no one ever drowns? Should we outlaw driving so no one dies in car accidents? We need common sense, not fear! I, and many others are in financial ruin due to this never ending closure.

    Tourists arriving with a negative test are so unlikely to spread this virus to the vulnerable, even if they slip in with a false negative test, which is rare. They don’t visit nursing homes or hospitals. They don’t stay in multi-family, multi-generation homes. They’re outside at the beach, socially distancing from others. They’re wearing masks when shopping or dining. They are participating in low risk activities!

    Please people, let’s use common sense here. We are in dire straits economically. We’ve been shut down too long now. The Safe Travels program will keep us safe! Let’s not buy into the agenda of those that want us to remain closed until Covid is no longer in existence – because that may never happen and we may then never reopen.

    1. Da Shadow February 10, 2021 3:36 pm Reply

      well said, Sara. agreed 100%

      only the rich elitists want to keep us closed/killing businesses and jobs.

      1. Brah February 11, 2021 11:32 pm Reply

        It’s not elites. It’s ignorant local people and state workers who follow Kawakami and have no realization of how the world works. Wake up people.

    2. Lando February 11, 2021 7:51 pm Reply

      Agreed Sara. If Kawakami must remain closed to save lives, by that same rational he must ban sugar infused drinks, salty snacks, kalua pork, cars, alcohol, cigarettes, sharp objects, sharks, etc, etc… and the sun, since it causes cancer. He has no plan, which in any private sector employment would get you fired. He sits back and “hopes” to receive more federal funding, so no one has to do the hard work of implementing a real world solution that relies less on hiding from the issue and facing it. To those that say, no open! Free money is nice and easy eh, but know that the bill will come due, nothing is free. Your jobs are not safe, community and other safety net programs need funding and unemployment is funded by all the businesses closing around you. We live in one of the most expensive places in the country and somehow we expect to remain living in paradise when the largest employers are closed and the key revenue generating industry is non existent. “We hope to get more federal funding” is not a strategy, it’s pure laziness

  16. hieronymus February 10, 2021 2:22 pm Reply

    I’ll not protest with out bringing a solution. My wife has been out of work for 11 months now. We are broke! Our representatives need to find a way to bring back tourism. Here it is. 1) no boarding of aircraft without a negative test. 2) you test at your hotel the next day. this will be part of your resort fee. If the Waikiki doctors can administer a test with results in 20 minutes we can do it here. 3) Wear a mask and wash your hands. 4) enjoy the island. Adjustments can be made for those who have been vaccinated. The Americas Cup was recently contested in New Zealand. During the broadcasts, I saw no one wearing masks and they were enjoying a wonderful time. How is it they have a handle on things and we don’t?
    If you are afraid then stay home but we all need to get back to work.

    1. LNJ February 10, 2021 5:35 pm Reply

      Divided nation, divided island. The majority of kauaians want and need the island to open. We must follow Maui’s lead. The business spurt vs the risk of infection which Kauai experienced in November was balanced. Do it again. Institute the safe travels program and have one state wide protocol. There is really no other way.

  17. Be reasonable February 10, 2021 2:39 pm Reply

    Our only experience with re-opening travel without quarantine was terminated before the state fixed the glitch in the program that allowed passengers to board flights before they got their test results. Naturally, everyone wanted out as we saw case counts go up because people with positive test results were boarding planes without knowing they were positive.

    Now we have a couple of months to look at to see how the state’s program performed once the glitch was fixed. And guess what? It works! While cases have exploded on the mainland, they haven’t on the islands that participate in the state’s programs. Aside from one brief spike two weeks after Christmas (predictable given Christmas gatherings) average daily new cases on Oahu look pretty much the same as they did in September.

    It’s time for our Mayor, who has been awesome in every other respect, to own up to the fact that his opt-out decision was hasty. He didn’t wait to see how the fix to the state’s pre-travel testing would play out, but opted out again right as the fix was going into effect.

    Will we see a small number of additional cases every day if we are back in the state’s program? Yes. But if you want a perfectly safe world, don’t allow anyone to leave their homes, except to buy groceries and get medications or go to the doctor, and don’t allow any non-essential travel at all. We are all talking about and trying to arrive at an acceptable level of risk that lets people carry on with life while providing a measure of safety. Dismissing the state’s program as risky or unsafe offhand is a weak argument. Everything that involves people leaving the house or the island is theoretically unsafe. The numbers show us the pre-travel testing program is doing what it was supposed to do. All of us being diligent about double masking, avoiding large gatherings, and limiting our time in stores would do a lot more to protect us than continuing to opt out of the state’s pre-travel testing program.

  18. HAD February 10, 2021 2:42 pm Reply

    I hope this passes and we can rejoin the Safe Travels program. In addition I’d like to see a mask mandate with a small fine AND a free mask given at the same time as the fine. This angle has been proven effective in India. We went out to support a local business last weekend at the Cabana Restaurant and the bartender never wore a mask and everyone except us was inexplicably mask-less after 7pm. We were also told to “go home covid” at the beach by a mask-less woman. Some bad behavior is expected and is not the rule but the county closure has given some bad attitudes additional legitimacy.

  19. KauaiFarmMan February 10, 2021 4:25 pm Reply

    Finally people are waking up!!! Looks like the Mayor and his wealthy friends’ plan to keep the island closed for a playground for the ultra wealthy is finally backfiring! People need jobs! People deserve freedom! Stop this madness! Open up everything! Dictatorships require willing participants to exist! Take your masks off and show these tyrants you are FREE! Rally for Freedom people!

  20. Kauai Guy February 10, 2021 6:00 pm Reply

    MAHALO Sara for that point of view.
    Have you noticed that we have not had a report on the number of visitors, staying in a bubble resort, who have tested positive? Dr Evslin and the former Mayor want to throw out a bunch of figures about earlier days, and the numbers on Maui. Quit comparing us to others. We are not that different, except that we have crazy restrictions on travel. Who is making the money off these bubble resorts? Certainly the Mobile Poipu Doctor is, as he does all the testing exclusively. It is obvious that there are others, when you have a couple of bubble resorts choices that are over $1100 per night. Really? Just the fact that the Sheraton and Hyatt chose not to participate should tell you something. Unfortunately, they have a lot of jobs that are furloughed as a result of the current restrictions.
    The facts are that we have had ONE death, and for that, we shut down the whole economy.
    We have a “0” positivity rate! Who has one of those, and yet we can’t just be thankful for that, and move on to open up tourism so we can get people back to work, so they can pay their bills and feel a sense of dignity. As for a second test, go ahead, but don’t hold people captive while doing it. Pay for the test, since the amount of money in taxes from a visitor stay will outweigh the cost to the County. It is a cost of doing business. You have all their information when they arrive. Make it so they have to upload the negative test result after 3 days. If they don’t, send out the National Guard to pick them up. That is what they do now. And allowing residents to return from a trip without a test, if they are quarantining for 10 days in their home, is dumb. They are just like anyone else, and should arrive with a test like all the other travelers. We all know that the majority of cases still come from resident travel. Stop making the visitors the bogeyman. You only create divisiveness.

  21. Ok February 10, 2021 9:57 pm Reply

    Maybe the 15000 malihinis that moved here in the last year will go back to silicone valley once Kauai’s no longer their private covid sanctuary …

  22. J.D. February 11, 2021 5:09 am Reply

    The cost of this shut down will be a burden for generations. Who will be able to afford to live in Kauai?

  23. LMat February 11, 2021 8:23 am Reply

    If this isn’t the eye-opener we need to drive home the dangers of relying on tourism as the sole pillar of our entire economy, I don’t know what is.
    Defund the HTA, explore economic opportunities (legalizing marijuana, perhaps), invest in diversification, fix the ADC and demand that they do their job!!!

  24. Wailua February 11, 2021 8:58 am Reply

    I’ve seen several of you refer to anyone who values safety over tourism as an elitist. I assure you that is not the case. Both my parents and my child are high-risk for this particular virus. We have had the best management of this pandemic thanks to our Mayor and his quick actions. Our hotel occupancy is comparable to the other islands, but our virus transmission rate is a thousand times safer.

    Is it really that hard to wait another couple of months until a majority of our at-risk residents are protected? Why sacrifice my family’s health to cater to the hotel/tourism lobbyists?

  25. MD February 11, 2021 10:33 am Reply

    As someone who has lived in HI and still visits the islands regularly, we were bummed to postpone our spring trip last year, but of course understood it was not a good time. We have rebooked for the same time frame this year and are now debating whether to postpone again because of Kauai’s additional restrictions. Booking 3 additional days at one of the bubble resorts plus costs in flight changes will cost us thousands of dollars. We want to come and support the island community, but this resort bubble thing is overkill in my opinion. We have no problem testing before and after we get there, but the added costs of this program just don’t seem worth it.

    1. Kay G February 12, 2021 11:15 am Reply

      I am in the exact same boat. We were to arrive in 2020 March 14. The pandemic blew up on March 12, so we sadly had to cancel. We rebooked in July for this March, but with the new restrictions, we would be losing 3 days, plus the cost of getting to and from the North Shore without a car rental, plus the hefty cost of quarantine tests, cost of having our groceries delivered, etc is just too stressing. We had ZERO issues with getting pre-tested, and using the Safe Travels guidelines, but this is all too restrictive. I so want for island to start recovering, but visitors are discouraged. Also, after seeing the harassing behavior of residents last year toward visitors, I am hesitant to come this year.

  26. Jane Commom February 11, 2021 4:33 pm Reply

    I strongly support our Mayor Kawakami who listens to residents like us. We do have a steady paycheck and we do not have any mortgage to pay other than the property tax. We are retired vulnerable elderly who need to be left alone on Kauai. We sacrifice not seeing our children or grandchildren over the year. However, having a safe island knowing that there are double or triple guards from any tourist is peace of mind. The fewer tourists, the better. Let super-wealthy tourists come to the bubble resorts, make the cost high as a barrier to push for a lower number of tourists. We reside in Kauai with the hope that there would be no traffic congestion or noisy neighbors. During the Christmas holidays, it is such a heaven to see almost nobody at Poipu Beach and we got our chance to snorkel checking out the Humuhumu. For the first time, we could say we have this paradise to ourselves! Mayor Kawakami definitely gave us protection, a wonderful gift that no other politician would do. Whenever we hear, protect the island, it means to protect vulnerable elderly like us. Please slow down the HB1286, no need to rush. Mahalo! We will live long on Kauai.

    1. Kay G February 12, 2021 11:19 am Reply

      Just an FYI…………….not all tourists are super-wealthy! We work hard to save for years to make our trips to Kauai.

  27. The Big Kahuna February 12, 2021 6:29 pm Reply

    Can the Mayor be recalled? Funny how quick California started to open once his job was on the line.

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