Throughout Oahu, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been making a record number of people sick while filling our hospitals with cases. With first-responders pushed to their max and our hospitals overly full with few or no beds available, Governor Ige has urged travelers to not visit the Hawaiian Islands and to cancel existing trips until the end of October.
Until recently, Hawaii had been able to keep low case counts throughout the pandemic due to stay-at-home orders and cautious residents. With the arrival of the Delta variant, however, the story changed. More contagious, especially for those unvaccinated against the virus, the waves of cases have created a fourth surge raging through all the Hawaiian Islands.
While Governor Ige and Mayor Blangiardi have not locked down restaurants, hotels, and the travel industry as a whole, they have both stated now is not the time to take a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. In order to protect our residents and the travelers themselves, they have urged people to stay home or to stay in a resort bubble if they do decide to make the trip. Many people with reservations have now canceled their vacations with several still making the trip due to financial investments in their reservations. Though our economy suffers from fewer tourists, protecting our communities from this virus and helping our health care workers is the reason behind these new restrictions.
New Restrictions For Large Gatherings
On Oahu, Mayor Blangiardi recently cancelled large gatherings by limiting large gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Gatherings that are no longer permitted for the next several weeks include weddings, funerals, conferences, concerts, live events, and ticketed sporting events. Church services are exempt from this order. With 180 professional events now no longer happening, the Mayor has stopped short of ordering people to stay home though that is still an option if cases continue to increase at this exponential rate.
To prevent people from being infected with COVID-19, there will now be a “vaccine pass” for entrance to indoor dining and venues throughout Oahu. If you want to dine indoors at a restaurant or go somewhere such as a gym, you will now need to show you have been vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the last 48 hours. While your paper vaccination card works as proof, Hawaii has also created an online system called the Hawaii SMART Health Card that allows businesses to electronically check a person’s vaccine status. To use it, you simply log on and upload a photo of your vaccination card. After a few seconds, you then receive a QR code to show businesses when entering their facilities. Businesses with the app can simply scan the QR code to verify vaccination status. This will also work for travelers from other states using the same system such as California and New York.
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