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COVID: Governor Of Hawaii Urges Tourists Not To Come As New Cases Surge

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- On Monday Hawaii Gov. David Ige urged travelers to rethink their plans if they've got a ticket to the islands as COVID-19 cases continue to rise significantly in the Aloha state.

"We are seeing more COVID patients in our hospitals and the ICUs are filling up," Gov. Ige said. "It's not a good time to travel to the islands."

Rod Antone, executive director for Maui Hotel and Lodging Association, said they're following the Governor's announcements closely. Antone said they would follow any mandate that is handed down by either the state or county government.

"On Maui, we only have one hospital so it doesn't take much," Antone said. "So I certainly understand the governor's and the mayor's concern at this point."

Antone, a friend of KPIX Reporter Maria Cid Medina, is no stranger to the pandemic. He's among the rising number of COVID cases in Hawaii.

Antone tested positive for the virus last week, and is vaccinated.

"I felt like I was going to pass out every time I stood up," he said. "I am thankful that I'm vaxed, my symptoms were very mild."

But others aren't so lucky. Gov. Ige said that hospitals are dealing with how to take in the influx of COVID patients. There are tents at some facilities to care for patients who do not need to be in the ICU.

The governor also announced more restrictions on Oahu, which include scaling back gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors effective Aug. 25.

He acknowledged the impact that tourism may have after he encouraged tourists to rethink their plans until October, but he said taking action was necessary to get the virus under control.

"Restaurant capacity has been restricted, there is limited access to rent-a-cars, and we know that the visitors who chose to come to the islands will not have the typical kind of holiday," said Gov. Ige.

Vilma Roa was on the plane to San Jose from a trip to Oahu when the governor made his announcement. She said she was visiting family in Hawaii, and that the pandemic has definitely impacted paradise.

"Restaurant that we went to, my family, we were asked to show our vaccine card," Roa said. "There's still a lot of tourists there, but I noticed that a lot of places are closed early."

Gov. Ige said he requested airlines help spread the message that traveling to Hawaii is being discouraged.

"Like the governor, we're concerned about everything. COVID, people's jobs, the industry," said Antone. "I know the governor and all the mayors, they've got a tough balancing act taking all that into consideration."

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