Hawaii asks visitors to postpone travel plans amid outbreak
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Tuesday encouraged visitors to postpone their island vacations for at least the next 30 days as the state tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Ige announced the plea along with a directive that all bars and clubs close and that restaurants shift to serving food through drive-through, takeout and delivery service. He called on gatherings to be limited to a maximum of 10 people.
“The actions I’m announcing today may seem extreme to some of you, and we know that it will have negative effects to our economy,” Ige said. “But we are confident that taking aggressive actions now will allow us to have a quicker recovery when this crisis is over.”
Hawaii welcomed 10 million visitors last year, an all-time record. Tourism is the engine of the state’s economy, accounting for nearly one-fifth of local jobs.
To date, Hawaii has recorded 14 positive cases of the new coronavirus. Officials have closed schools and facilities and postponed events to prevent the disease from spreading widely in the community and overwhelming the healthcare system.
Here’s a roundup of updates related to the new coronavirus in Hawaii:
USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL
The National Park Service said the Pearl Harbor National Memorial has closed temporarily following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health officials.
The site includes the USS Arizona Memorial, which honors the 1,177 Marines and sailors killed when their battleship sank during the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The memorial normally receives about 1.8 million visitors each year.
The state Department of Public Safety said it’s suspending evictions statewide in response to the governor’s emergency proclamation for the coronavirus and as the judiciary limits court proceedings.
The department said the temporary hold on evictions is effective immediately.
DRIVERS LICENSES EXTENDED
Honolulu is extending the expiration dates on drivers licenses and state identification cards issued on Oahu by 90 days.
The city says it will also allow drivers aged 72 and older to renew their two-year licenses by mail. Only those licenses and IDs expiring in March, April, May and June will be affected.
Department of Customer Services Director Sheri Kajiwara said the move is intended to minimize the public’s need to visit a service center. The mail-in provision is aimed at protecting the elderly.
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES SUSPENDS MORE FLIGHTS
Hawaiian Airlines said Tuesday it would suspend service between Honolulu and Sapporo, Japan beginning April 2 through July 18. The airline said it was acting in response to declining travel demand. It said it aims to resume service in the summer.
Hawaiian continues to fly between Honolulu and Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, Japan. The airline has reduced its overall capacity amid declining demand.