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Hawaii governor tells tourists 'it is not a good time' to visit as Covid cases climb

Gov. David Ige is asking people to curtail travel to the islands until the end of October.
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Hawaii Gov. David Ige asked tourists not to visit the islands because hospitals and intensive care units are filling up with Covid-19 patients.

"It is a risky time to be traveling right now. I did ask everyone, residents and visitors alike, to reduce travel to Hawaii to essential business activities only," he said Monday at a news conference. "We do know that it is not a good time to travel to the islands."

Image: David Ige
Gov. David Ige speaks to reporters at the state Department of Health's laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaii, on March 3, 2020.Audrey McAvoy / AP file

The governor said the state has administered 1.8 million vaccination doses. Just over 70 percent of residents have received at least one dose, and 62 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, he said.

But visitors traveling to the islands are posing a risk. A Florida couple was recently arrested in Hawaii after allegedly presenting fake Covid-19 vaccination cards for themselves and their two children, who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccination.

Ige told reporters he understands his plea could potentially hurt small businesses that have already been struggling.

"Certainly our call to reduce travel to the islands for only essential business will have an impact on the numbers who come here. But I also would like to point out that our hospitals are at capacity, our ICUs are full," he said. "I do know that that's a risk, but I believe that as a community, that's a risk we have to take, to discourage travel to the islands until we can get to a better place with our health care facilities."

Ige also said that because restaurant capacity has been reduced to 50 percent and access to rental vehicles is limited, he thinks visitors "will not have the typical kind of holiday that they expect to get when they visit Hawaii."

He's asking people to curtail travel to the islands until the end of October.