Just before Labor Day weekend kicked off last Thursday, 25 mind-blowing hospitality businesses in Hawaii filed notices of mass dismissal and furlough to the state, informing them of their intention to lay off hundreds of workers in the next 30 days.
According to local media, the move signals a lack of confidence within the tourism industry in the state’s current October 1 reopening date, which has already been pushed back twice.
Originally, the state planned to open to tourists on August 1 before the date was pushed back to September 1. At the end of August, the deadline was pushed back again, this time to October 1. Currently, any visitor arriving in Hawaii must quarantine for 14 days.
While it’s still possible that Hawaii will meet the October 1 reopening date, things aren’t moving in the right direction. The pre-trip testing programme, once heralded as a “game changer”, has not materialized. Ideas for a “resort bubble” have not materialized and local businesses have not been given a reliable timeline for reopening to tourism.
“Yet all these months later, there is still no playbook in sight, and Hawaii’s small guidelines have not been updated,” said Hawaii’s largest newspaper, the Star Advertiser. wrote of the grim situation.
To further complicate the issue, the islands have recently seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, prompting the governor to reinstate an inter-island quarantine policy and issue. a two-week stay at home on Oahu. The stay-at-home order is due to expire tomorrow but could be extended.
So what about all of this? Some travel experts to say that Hawaii likely won’t fully open until the new year, and travel companies are reporting massive cancellations for September, October and now November.
For now, the government is moving forward as if October 1 was indeed the opening date, but unless something suddenly changes, there is no indication that things are better than they were when the deadlines previous ones have been postponed.