Interisland travel passports could help families and local businesses
HONOLULU (KHON2) – A big inter-island travel announcement is due Tuesday according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
Details have not been announced, but we do know the state has been working on a plan to lift restrictions for vaccinated travelers. Governor Ige met with Adjutant General Hara last week to work out details, including making sure people have their cards and what to do with bottlenecks at the airport.
“We will be announcing the new travel rules tomorrow,” said Lt. Gov Green. “I’ll leave that to the governor, but a lot of things are going to be a little more practical if we as a society are vaccinated.
Some Hawaiian families are hoping to reunite, like the ohana of Hilo resident Brad Silva. He and his two children have not been able to see his parents in Kauai since the start of the pandemic.
“My parents just got vaccinated too, so hopefully that will open the doors for us to get there or for them to come here since we haven’t seen each other physically since the start of this pandemic,” Silva said. .
In addition to helping families reconnect, there is also an economic impact if the state waives the pre-travel test requirement.
“It’s expensive to get off the islands, let alone the rental car rates are going up. But basically it’s like paying for an extra hotel with the test, ”added Silva.
Kahului Ale House, located near the airport, is hoping to see some of that extra cash arrive after a tough 2020.
“We saw people almost everyday at least on weekends a lot to see family and it’s probably non-existent since probably last year,” said Brad Sundin, owner of Kahului Ale House.
Hospitality players are also hoping the change will help give the state the boost it needs to bounce back.
“We’re still one of the highest states in the country for unemployment,” said Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Accommodation and Tourism Association. “Still around 70,000 people without work. So it will have a ripple effect, it will help small businesses, restaurants, retail, they really need to have more customers and inter-island travel is a key ”.
Without giving details, the counties of Maui and Hawaii say they support the state’s decision while Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami declined to comment until an announcement was made by the Governor Ige.