The coronavirus pandemic has virtually shut down travel across the globe.
The New York Times mentions how Hawaii has discouraged visitors by requiring them to self-quarantine for 14 days which could also lead to a free ticket for a flight home.
For travelers who can’t afford to follow the mandatory two week quarantine (which includes lodging and food delivery), there’s a Covid-19 flight assistance program being offered by the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The flight assistance program launched in early April and has since sent 20 visitors back to the airport they flew to Hawaii from. Travelers have been sent back to Birmingham, AL, Denver, Guam and Los Angeles.
Tourism to Hawaii is down about 99 percent but the Times writes that “some residents have reported seeing visitors on beaches despite quarantine restrictions and stay-at-home orders.” While beaches are closed, people can cross the sand to get gain access to the water to swim, paddle or surf as long as social distancing is followed.
I was curious to know how the residents knew that the beach-goers were visitors and not locals. (In the Times article, one resident said they can spot tourists due to their hotel towels and water floaties from a popular store.)
Some of those taking advantage of the Covid-19 flight assistance program told VASH that they were visiting Hawaii due to the low airfares being offered.
This sounds pretty reckless if you ask me. While I love a great airfare deal, I don’t see the point of flying during a pandemic where you can help to increase the spread. Also, what’s the point of traveling during these times when everything is pretty much closed!
Find out more from the New York Times here.