Aloha Bruce and Yaling return to the studio for a special extended COVID-19 Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast to talk about when will Hawaii open up again to Tourism. Our hosts talk about their hopes for the Aloha State to reopen, perhaps in June, and their decades of professional insight into Hawaii travel and the massive impact of the global pandemic on Hawaii’s travel industry.
They are joined later by longtime friend and beloved Hawaii broadcaster Angela Keen. Angela returns to the podcast to talk about her work with an important community organization on battling coronavirus in Hawaii
Both Bruce and Yaling are optimistic about a reopening by September for sure. They do note breaking news in USA Today about Hawaiian Air and Alaska Air receiving approval to suspend Hawaii-bound flights from a number of mainland airports.
In addition to dramatic flight reductions, Bruce and Yaling move on to note the near-total shutdown of hotel operations in Hawaii. They break down the planned reopening of some of Hawaii’s most popular resorts and hotel chains. Each chain and its properties have different dates selected, some early in May and others not until June.
Our hosts discuss what visitors to Hawaii can expect to face if they arrive while Hawaii’s travel restrictions (which are prohibitive) are in place. With his trademark candor, Aloha Bruce says, “If you come here right now, you’re in trouble. I mean, you’re in big trouble!” He talks about another recent arrest of a homeless person from the mainland you gave a P.O. box as her residence and was sent back to the mainland just a few days later.
Bruce wonders out loud about enforcement of travel restrictions in Hawaii and when will Hawaii open up again to Tourism, he and Yaling mention a new mandatory mask-in-public rule set to go into effect. Bruce also notes that he is still getting calls from clients who want to book Hawaii vacations for May. He doesn’t advise it and says September and beyond look best for fares as well.
Bruce also offers some thoughts on recent arrival numbers, pointing out that 43 transient arrivals and 109 visitors came into Hawaii on Friday. It prompts Bruce and Yaling to talk about the 14-day quarantine visitors face in Hawaii. Bruce also notes another news article citing Hawaii vacation rental shutdowns.
Aloha Bruce and Yaling give personal shoutouts to a handful of podcast listeners, one of whom thanks Lanai Tabura and his work with Show Aloha, which helps feed Hawaii’s vulnerable seniors. A listener who works in coronavirus research offers words of encouragement for the days ahead.
Bruce and Yaling welcome Angela Keen to the podcast to discuss her work on many projects in past weeks, all while battling non-COVID pneumonia. Pneumonia! Angela talks candidly about her experience and the particular vulnerabilities that Hawaii communities face regarding the deadly coronavirus.
Angela shares with Aloha Bruce and Yaling her thoughts about a person who arrived from the mainland recently and who flouted travel and quarantine restrictions, while posting regularly on social media. Angela notes that authorities were notified, including federal officials, and that person was soon located and arrested by federal officials.
Angela talks about the possible $5000 fine visitors face and the fact that some choose to ignore the legal and public health consequences. Her work with the organization Mai Hele Mai. She says it translates roughly to “please don’t come during quarantine!”
Angela says that right now, Waikiki is empty, “no fun”. Practically none of Hawaii’s attractions are available to visitors, and Angela says, “We want you to come when we’re healthy!”
Bruce and Angela agree that now is the time for everyone to practice aloha, because of the challenges we face in Hawaii due to COVID-19. Angela says that many Hawaii residents are being vigilant and persistent in documenting violators of travel restrictions and quarantines. A social media expert, Angela says to visitors, “You don’t want that!”
Angela has been working with local officials and celebrities to get the message out to potential visitors that now is not a good time to come to Hawaii. She says the Mai Hele Mai group wants to send a positive message to visitors while politely asking them to “please stay away during this difficult time”.
Bruce asks Angela her thoughts on when Hawaii may begin reopening. She says she thinks the first week of May, if that, is the earliest Hawaii will begin reopening for locals. She also notes that she believes that the peak of the outbreak is yet to arrive in Hawaii.
When Bruce asks when Angela thinks Hawaii will reopen to tourists and vacationers; she thinks it may also be in June. Angela suggests everyone follows local news about the outbreak for current conditions and statistics, and to check with the Mai Hele Mai Facebook Group. She says she is especially looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Hawaii. You can also reach out to Anglea on social media @angelakeen or her website Hawaiian Wedding Officiant.