Should I stay or should I go? Hawaii’s welcome to Canadians clouded by peak in COVID-19 cases


Canadians looking to escape the COVID-19 pandemic are welcome in Hawaii, but with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the state, travelers are in no rush to book vacations.Travel agent Lesley Paull, president and CEO of Paull Travel in Edmonton, said Canadians started booking trips for later in October and November. She said people are not leaving sooner due to doubts Hawaii will follow through on plans to lift its travel restrictions.

Earlier this month, the island state of Hawaii announced that it will allow Canadian travelers to go without a 14-day quarantine starting in early September.

Travelers will only have to be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of boarding their plane in Hawaii, she said.

But even that settlement created a few questions, Paull said.

“We’re trying to find out how you can actually present what they’re going to agree to and get it done within 72 hours. The concept sounds simple, but how to achieve it is another story, ”Paull said in Edmonton AM on Friday. , adding that she even booked a vacation there in October.

Travelers visiting Hawaii will still need to be quarantined for two weeks upon their return to Canada.

Earlier this year, a mandatory 14-day quarantine was imposed on all out-of-state travelers to Hawaii, which was only recently lifted for American travelers.

Spike in cases

As these changes are announced, the Hawaii Department of Health says the state is facing a new peak in COVID-19 cases, reporting a one-day high on Thursday with 355 new cases.

Hawaii has recorded 4,312 cases of COVID-19, including 40 deaths, since the end of February.

“While our new record daily number of 355 is surprising, the current trend in new cases and hospitalizations is even more so,” Josh Green, Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, said Thursday in a statement from Hawaii Department of Health.

“O’ahu’s major acute care hospitals are already transferring patients and expanding intensive care capacity to accommodate the growing number of COVID-19 positive patients. Many are reaching critical care capacity.

Nonetheless, Canadian airlines are still ready to resume flights to the state. WestJet plans to offer non-stop flights from Vancouver to Hawaii on September 5, and Air Canada plans to do the same starting September 8.

Business has been tough for travel agents during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Paull started seeing more travel bookings last month.

We’ll talk to a travel agent about why more and more Albertans are booking trips to Hawaii. 4:42

She said snowbirds that usually travel to the United States find alternative destinations in Caribbean countries or Mexico where they don’t have to worry about quarantine restrictions.

Although land border crossings between the United States and Canada have been closed to non-essential travel since March 21, air travel is not limited to Canadians visiting the United States.

“It’s always been recommended that (not) travel, except for essential travel, but there have been flights from the start, especially to the United States,” Paull said.

A major issue for Canadians traveling by air, Paull said, has been the issue of medical coverage. Earlier this year, it was difficult to find coverage available for people who contracted COVID-19 while traveling.

At the end of the day, Paull said, it depends on how comfortable people are with the idea of ​​traveling. While some are ready to get on a plane, there is still enough fear that planes will end up with many empty seats.


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