While some Americans are taking COVID-19 very seriously, others are using the crisis to score a cheap vacation.
Fed up with the influx of careless tourists taking advantage of cheap airline tickets during the coronavirus pandemic, some Hawaiians have decided that enough is enough.
According to Maui Now, about 50 Maui residents and community leaders gathered outside of the Molokai Airport on Wednesday to protest the tourists’ arrival.
Hawaiians of all ages gathered with protest signs telling visitors they are not welcome.
“Protect Our Elders, Tourist Go Home, Maui Is Closed,” one sign read.
“Life Over Profit,” read another.
The protesters are afraid that if nonessential travel to Hawaii is not fully shut down, tourists will continue to pour in and bring the disease with them.
As of noon Saturday, the state had 56 confirmed or presumptive positive coronavirus cases, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.
Before the protests, Gov. David Ige had merely urged state employees to limit nonessential travel to the state.
In response to the growing concern over the influx of mainland tourists, Ige instituted a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all incoming travelers, both residents and visitors.
MARCH 21, 2020: Today I issued a second supplemental emergency proclamation (https://t.co/nCAmi6Jh8f) ordering ALL individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving or returning to the State of Hawaiʻi to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/FQczZ4d0J9
— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) March 22, 2020
Despite the order, many Hawaiians believe the Democratic governor hasn’t gone far enough in his efforts to contain the spread.
“It’s time for the community to step up and protect our kūpuna [elders] and most vulnerable. If our government will not, we have no choice but to make it clear, right now visitors are not welcome,” resident Kaena Elaban said, according to Maui Now.
Meanwhile, online ticket companies have continued to lower their prices, making the popular tourist location even more desirable to visit during this crisis.
“We need to shut this thing down. We cannot have this wait-and-watch attitude. We need to close the state down,” former Gov. Neil Abercrombie told KHNL-TV.
Hawaiians’ growing concerns would be all for naught if more Americans would take on the responsibility of doing their part to “flatten the curve.”
Now is probably not the time to leverage this crisis for a cheap vacation.
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