Some were concerned about groups of exposed tourists crowding their way to Koko Head despite the nationwide mask mandate, endangering the health of local residents. Similarly, reports have been circulated from tourists gathering maskless on Waikiki Beach local news agenciesThis causes anger among the locals, who fear that tourists will use their home as a playground without paying attention to local regulations.

“Most of the travelers we’ve encountered lately don’t seem interested in COVID-19 or our emergency mandate,” adds Keen, who is herself a COVID-19 survivor with a mask we got with explosives, the middle finger and even faced screaming. “

Over the past month, cases in the state have continued to rise, averaging 99 cases a day for the past seven days – a 36 percent increase from the average just two weeks earlier. Although some health officials attribute the rising cases to community prevalence rather than increased tourism, others argue that many of the recent cases are, too directly or indirectly related to tourism. Anyway, the fact remains that the situation in Hawaii is still volatile and the islands’ health systems are limited and ill-equipped to handle another surge. Studies also show that in the event of “moderate spread,” Hawaii would need almost four times the number of its available hospital beds – a number that does not factor in virus-infected tourists.

But other locals argue that excluding visitors is not that easy.

“We need to strike a balance between the safety and health of our community and address the damage caused by the high unemployment rate,” says an Oahu-based hotel renovator who has asked to remain anonymous. “It would be different if we had another big export. But tourism is our dominant industry, and there are myriad other sectors related to it like the grocery chain, retail and restaurants. As long as tourism remains regulated, they are State mandates clear and the visitors respect them, I think we can achieve a certain balance. “

Stay safe

In the midst of a global pandemic, it is best to protect yourself and others Just stay home. However, if you do choose to visit, you need to know and follow all of the local mandates to minimize risk.

There is currently a nationwide mask mandate. Wearing a mask is a legal requirement when you enter an important business, participate in most activities, use public transportation, and keep a physical distance of at least two meters from other people (including members of your household) outdoors. Individuals who break the rules of the Emergency Ordinance will be punished with a fine of up to US $ 5,000 and / or up to one year in prison.

Currently all Hawaii restaurants are open for indoor dining with a 50 percent capacity, although dining is limited to groups of five people per table and masks must always be worn except when actively eating or drinking. Indoor attractions such as museums, shopping centers, bowling alleys and zoos are also used at 50 percent. Groups are limited to five people. All of Hawaii’s parks, beaches, and trails are also open. However, visitors must practice physical distance and wear a mask at all times.

When you decide to visit Hawaii, the key is mālama: the Hawaiian value of caring for and protecting the land and its people. This can mean anything from complying with local mandates (and those who are supposed to protect them) to patronizing regional companies.

“Hawaii has the most precious and unique culture, people, and history,” Keen adds. “We have animals and plants that do not exist anywhere else in the world. That’s how special this place is. When you come wear a mask, be respectful, buy local, wash your hands, social distance, and there will be appreciation from those of us who live here. But I’d rather you come when it’s safer for everyone. “

We report daily on how COVID-19 is affecting travel. Here you can find all information about coronavirus and travel resources.