Hawaii Travel Updates:
Weʻre Back – Part 1
Wow! 2020 huh? There are really no words. But if there were… they would all be four letters. First and foremost, we hope you and all your loved ones are safe and healthy. If they are not, know everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. For the last seven months, weʻve all been thinking about staying safe, not traveling or tours. In addition, many places around the world instituted travel restrictions, including Hawaii. Then we went through lockdowns, and all waited for the end of quarantine. Itʻs finally time to give a long-awaited travel update.
This post will have multiple parts and we think youʻll enjoy them all. Part 1 is about the last seven months, Part 2 shares historical context, and Part 3 gives more travel info. However, if you just want the latest details, feel free to jump straight to our Covid-19 Updates page. Otherwise, enjoy because Weʻre Back: Part 1…
How Did We React to Covid?
Everyone has gone through so much recently. We have all handled it in our own way. For us, the warning signs started relatively early. As news began to spread in January and February, bookings began to stop. So we began preparing for what we thought would be the worst-case scenario. Since we service cruise ships, we were paying particular attention in early March. The travel updates and restrictions started to pour into Hawaii and other places around the globe. It became clear there would be no safe way to travel or operate tours very quickly. Many areas, including Hawaii, went into quarantine and lockdown with no reliable end date.
Early Pandemic Hawaii Updates
Each tour that last month was special. We all enjoyed ourselves and tried to pretend it was normal. It wasnʻt. The last group before we shut down was March 14th. We circled the South Shore and went to Pearl Harbor. Then it started to rain, and it poured, an ominous sign of things to come. Since it was a slow week, the guest chose to head back to the hotel and finish the tour another day. That day, unfortunately, wouldnʻt come. After helping that family from Australia to the Airport safely, we began the long road to recovery. Nobody had any idea how long and bumpy that road would be. As of the writing of this section, we still donʻt.
There is no way to thank all of you who reached out with love and support. We ran a brief GoFundMe campaign and were able to get through until help came from the Small Business Administration. All of this happened during the first lockdown while we set up DeliverWE.
We decided to serve our Community until we went out of business or until the Hawaii quarantine end date. So far, itʻ s been the latter. Then watched as world travel updates and warnings spelled bad news for Hawaii, much like everywhere else.
What is the pandemic like in Hawaii?
It depends on what you mean. Economically, it has been devastating, and it isnʻt over yet. In April 2020, according to the Department of Labor we had over a 22% Unemployment Rate and lost 121,800 jobs over the month. Like everywhere else, many businesses and restaurants have closed and are not returning. Many people are still waiting on their Unemployment Assistance to arrive. As of October at least 9,000 households are at least two months behind on rent. Also as of October, the Hawaii Food Bank has passed out over 16 million pounds of food. If you want to contribute to the islands, a donation to them is a great place to start.
But the news isnʻt all bad. Hawaii is resilient, it is exceptional, and it is Community-oriented. We have been lucky enough to drop food off for new mothers around Oahu during this time and fed houseless in Waikiki with DeliverWe.
Not only that, but the island has had a chance to heal. Waters at Hanauma Bay have been 42% clearer than before the shutdown, according to a University of Hawaii study. It was a much-needed break in some ways. Not to mention 30,000 visitors a day is a lot.
Hawaii Health and Travel Updates
Finally, living through the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is essential to understand that this is not the first pandemic to hit Hawaii. Fortunately, so far… we have been relatively lucky this time. At first, Hawaii had some of the lowest cases in the Nation, and thought maybe a July opening and end of travel restrictions was possible. But by August 2020 it was spreading faster than in any State. So Hawaii eventually updated and extended the travel restrictions until October 15th for safe tours and travels.
Truthfully, not everybody feels the same about the proper way to open or the Hawaii quarantine end date. If you would like a little bit of background on Pandemics in Hawaii, continue to Weʻre Back: Part 2 or you can jump ahead to the end in Part 3.
But it has been our experience that the more you know about the history of Hawaii, the better this place gets.
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Did you miss part of the Weʻre Back series about the pandemic?
Donʻt worry. Here are the links to the other 4 parts of this series about our recovery from the COVID pandemic in the Hawaiian Islands. The series starts just after easing the 14-day mandatory quarantine in October 2022.