Hawaii's Governor Urges Tourists to Stay Home as COVID Surges

Looks like your island getaway will have to wait until after October.

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By this point, we could all use a vacation. But before you start looking to book, know this: The governor of Hawaii doesn’t want any non-essential domestic travel to the islands this fall.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said in a news conference on Monday, “Our hospitals and our ICUs are filling up. Now is not a good time to travel to Hawaii.” The popular island getaway is currently experiencing a surge in COVID cases, which has left hospitals at capacity.

Although the governor is urging travelers to hold off through October, this does not mean they cannot visit Hawaii. Sightseers have been able to go to the islands since October of last year as long as they provided a negative COVID test and abided by the state's quarantine rules. This past July, the testing rule was lifted for vaccinated tourists.

He also voiced that he expected “cooperation from the visitor industry,” and he has spoken to airlines and hotels, asking them to “do what they could” to cut back on tourism. And while there has been some speculation about the testing requirement returning to the islands for all travelers, Ige says this protocol would be difficult to enforce as it directly conflicts with the CDC’s ruling that domestic travel is safe for vaccinated travelers.

John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, is also encouraging travelers to delay visits to the islands this fall. De Fries said, “Even though visitor arrivals overall are already starting to decline, as is historically the case in the fall, visitors should consider postponing their travels to Hawaii.”

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.