A majority of Hawaii residents are willing to accept a second lockdown and said they are not ready to see tourists in their neighborhoods as the state fights the spread of Covid-19, a University of Hawaii survey revealed.
More than 600 people responded to the online survey developed by the UH Public Policy Center from June 15 to 22. The vast majority, 81%, said they are not ready for tourists to return to their communities. Overall the survey showed strong support for the two-week quarantine for trans-Pacific arrivals.
When asked about the most effective measures taken to combat the pandemic, the most often commended step was the overseas tourism quarantine, which was cited by more than half of the respondents. When asked what the state could have done better, there was less consensus, but the two most popular choices were even greater restrictions on tourism and more effective enforcement of the quarantine.
In the instance of a second wave of coronavirus infections, which more than two-thirds of respondents thought was probable, a majority said they would be willing to undergo a second round of stricter stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. A majority of those surveyed did say some provisions, such as restrictions on outdoor activities, beach use and some businesses, should be loosened in the event of a second lockdown.
When asked to choose between "Just getting tourism going for now" and "Making big changes to the nature of tourism first," 69% said they would prefer big changes first, such as how many visitors come to Hawaii and what type of tourism the state attracts. Just 19% were in favor of starting tourism as soon as possible and the rest were undecided.
While the quarantine is supported by the majority, the researchers found that, in general, respondents from lower income brackets and those who suffered the most financially during the pandemic were more likely to support a second shutdown and least supportive of tourism resuming in its current form.
"In particular, we note with admiration the selflessness of many lower-income households that were more willing to repeat restrictions despite the fact that they have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19," John Knox, Colin Moore and Sherilyn Hayashida, the report's authors, conclude. "Respondents have serious concerns when it comes to tourism. There is limited trust in the state and industry working together and even less trust in the travel industry to reopen tourism safely."
Earlier in July, Hawaii Gov. David Ige extended the two-week mandatory quarantine for trans-Pacific travelers and delayed the start of a pretravel testing program that will allow those traveling to the state to skip the quarantine if they complete a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of arrival. The program is now slated to start on Sept. 1.