Some Hawaii hotels reopen in October, others remain closed

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Some Hawaii hotels that were closed throughout the pandemic have started accepting reservations online for October 15.

However, there are several hotels and resorts that will not allow visitors to make a reservation for the rest of the year or until Dec. 15.

As it stands, Hawaii visitors will be allowed to bypass quarantine as long as they can show that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their flight.

Hawaii Governor David Ige previously announced that tourism could reopen on August 1, but due to a spike in COVID-19 cases on the mainland, he postponed it back to September 1.

Then Oahu saw a spike in cases in August and he delayed tourism again to October 1.

The continued postponement has left some hotels and potential guests feeling uneasy on whether October 15 is the actual and final date.

“As we open the doors, people are going to have to be able to recognize, especially here in Hawaii, that it’s not going to be a flood of visitors coming in overnight.

“It’s just not going to happen because of the delays because of the perception,” said Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann.

As Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association created health and safety standards for hotels to follow, Hannemann said it will be hard to say how many hotels would reopen by October 15.

Tourism leaders will have to work with partners, who have been selling Hawaii throughout the years, to assure them that Hawaii is in fact open for business, despite the continued push-back and delays this summer, according to him.

He said confidence and trust has to be rebuilt with their partners, and that is the reason for opening up.

State’s hotels have updated their COVID-19 terms and conditions and cancellation policies on their websites, while several hotel websites acknowledged Hawaii’s 72-hour negative testing program on the top of the screen.

Report revealed that there are still some things to be worked out at the state-level in respect to testing and pre-testing requirements.

Hannemann explained further that it is still too early to tell how many hotels will be open and how much staff will be brought back and said it will depend on what the demand will look like.

According to chief executive and principal consultant Kekoa McClellan, it is going to take some hotels longer than others to prepare themselves for that reopening, as hotels will open when and only when there is adequate demand and adequate safety precautions in place.

It is part of the plan that staff will be trained on dealing with a potential COVID-19 positive guest, proper social distancing, cleanliness and implementing new plans like keyless entry, disinfecting high tough areas regularly, and grab and go meals for food and beverage operations.

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