Reports of Kauai County's plans in Hawaii to reopen the economy to tourists as soon as October 15 continue as the island works to create a “resort bubble” program. The island has said that it will start the pre-travel testing program as early as October. The hope for a pre-travel testing program is that it will protect public health while still allowing the economy to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Travelers will be exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine if they return a negative result after submitting to a test 72 hours prior to arrival in Hawaii.
“We’re committed to restoring and revitalizing the economy,” Gov. David Ige said in a press conference this week.
For much of 2020, like tourist areas around the world, Hawaii’s economy has suffered due to the health crisis, resulting in the closure of businesses and thousands of people losing their jobs.
Five Kaua‘i hotels have expressed interest in the county’s program. Timbers Kaua‘i, Hokuala Resort has submitted an application to the program. Gary Moore, managing director of the resort told local news that the resort already made the decision to require a negative test 72 hours prior to arriving in the state.
“Everything is changing by the day right now,” Moore said.
In order to participate in the resort bubble program, resorts must establish security and enforcement policies to protect the safety of both guests and employees of the resort. Security and enforcement are the responsibility of the resort, and all rules, such as mask wearing and physical distancing, must be followed. Participating hotels have rewritten operating procedures, restructured common areas and, and guests will reportedly be required to wear tracking devices to ensure they stay on resort grounds.
Any person violating any rule of the governor or mayor, if convicted, could face a fine of up to $5,000 or serve up to a year in jail, or both.