Hawaii’s Reopening Could Be Good for Tourism. Is it Good for Locals?
Mr McMillan added that he believed that “in some markets, particularly for international travel, testing will become part of the norm until a vaccine is widely available”.
For Jonathan McManus, owner of the Wailea Relais & Chateaux hotel in Maui, testing offers a way to safely reopen an empty property after months of carrying. He says it will allow him to keep employees in jobs.
“What the data so far suggests is that here in Hawaii, testing was key to reopening safely,” he said. “We now understand the data and the importance of testing. Tests offer a high level of protection for visitors, employees and residents. “
The hotel used to have a face-to-face greeting process where staff would leis guests upon arrival and check them in with a cocktail in hand. Now a key is waiting for guests when they arrive and capacity is limited to 60 percent. Each of the hotel’s 72 suites has its own heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
Gary Moore, managing director of Timbers Kauai in Hokuala, said the reopening was “far from clear” but it was clear, “We have to find a way to live with the disease.” Mr Moore said that despite various challenges, the lessons learned on his property about distancing people, enforcing masks, controlling temperature, and even separating guests and putting them in “bubbles” could be applied at other resorts.
“The resort bubble would allow guests to leave their rooms and enjoy on-site amenities while completing the mandatory quarantine with GPS-monitored wristbands,” he said, noting that these bubbles would make it possible if Hawaii reintroduces mandatory quarantine for all travelers to keep the resort operational for inter-island travel and for locals.
The staff at Timbers are made up of locals and their safety is important, said Mr Moore.
“Our employees go home, many have large families and they are with parents, grandparents and children, and their safety is vital to the well-being of all,” he said.