Yesterday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell extended Oahu’s stay-at-home order another two weeks, deciding to keep businesses deemed unessential shut down and forbid all social gatherings through September 23rd.
It’s just the latest in a string of bad news for Hawaii, who last week saw more than 25 major hospitality companies announce mass layoffs and furloughs in the face of an uncertain future. Hawaii’s leadership has come into question in recent months by residents for its lack of direction, high turnover, and failure to devise a concrete plan for reopening.
Tourism has essentially been shut down since the start of the pandemic in March, and now, nearly six months later, residents and local businesses are still struggling through the hardships that come with on-again, off-again shutdowns.
“Yet all these months later, there’s still not a playbook in sight, and what little guidelines Hawaii has haven’t been updated,” Hawaii’s largest newspaper, the Star Advertiser, wrote of the bleak situation.
One silver lining is that beaches and public parks – which have been closed since the first week in August – are reopening for solo activities, like sunbathing and exercising. The lining, however, is extremely small, as described by local publication Civil Beat:
The mayor said his order prohibits people, even those living in the same household, from visiting parks or beaches together. That means that parents are not allowed to bring their kids to the beach, he said, and couples may not hike together, even at a distance.
Yikes. If there was any hope that the mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers would be lifted as planned on October 1st, these new orders certainly make it seem unlikely. It would be more than a miracle if the island was able to come out of a stay-at-home order on September 23rd and then open up to the world on October 1st, but as of now, that’s the plan in Hawaii.