Hawaii governor tells tourists to stay home as coronavirus surges across islands

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) is telling tourists to stay away from the islands amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.

In a news conference on Monday, Ige encouraged visitors and residents to reduce travel to essential business activities.

“It is a risky time to be traveling right now,” Ige said, adding, “It is not a good time to travel to the islands.”

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The governor warned that tourists would not have the “typical holiday” they expect when visiting the islands due to restrictions including limited restaurant capacity and limited access to rental cars.

“I encourage everyone to restrict and curtail travel to Hawaii, residents and visitors alike. It is not a good time to travel to the islands.”

In a separate statement, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said residents and visitors should delay nonessential travel through the end of October.

Ige’s comments come as the state has struggled to deal with a rise in coronavirus infections.

Elizabeth Char, director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, said in a statement that the surge was due to community followed by residents flying to hot spot areas and traveling home.

“If things do not change, our health care systems will be crippled and those needing medical care for all types of diseases, injuries and conditions, including our visitors, may find it difficult to get the treatment they need right away,” Char said.

Hawaii has reported 9,389 new coronavirus infections in the past two weeks, according to state data. The state has reported 56,670 new cases since the pandemic began, and 564 cumulative deaths.

Seventy percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 62 percent have been fully inoculated.