HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Health experts have previously warned Hawaii residents against traveling to areas of high COVID risk like Las Vegas, Florida and Texas.
Now a prominent emergency physician in Los Angeles is telling travelers to stay away from Hawaii.
Dr. Michael Daignault is an emergency physician for a Los Angeles medical center and is a frequent expert featured on LA media outlets.
And here’s his advice to those interested in traveling to the islands right now:
“I would advise people to not go now. You have to be responsible. You have to consider that Hawaii is a national treasure and we need to preserve it and protect its people,” he told Hawaii News Now.
In a recent Instagram post, he said travelers who can’t postpone a trip should test before and afterwards regardless of vaccination status, get travel insurance that includes medical evacuation to the mainland, avoid large crowds and events, and avoid high-risk activities.
“I think Hawaii of all states is such a fragile situation.”
“I advise patients or family member or friends to not travel anywhere that has has a high surge of COVID cases,” he added.
The governor on Monday also asked visitors to postpone upcoming travel to Hawaii given the state’s surge in COVID infections and hospitalizations.
Travel experts say they don’t blame the tourism industry for the recent surge in COVID cases as health officials agree much of the spread is due to resident gatherings.
“From the very beginning, COVID in Hawaii has not been generated by visitors coming in,” said travel consultant Keith Vieira, of KV and Associates.
He says tourism demand is starting to cool partly because of people’s safety concerns.
Group travel has flattened. And Asian, Australian and Canadian travelers still aren’t coming to Hawaii in large numbers.
“I think to tell visitors not to come, all it will do is hurt our economy, put thousands of people back out of work and not solve the problem, but it feels good because we did something,” said Vieira.
“We’ve got to get on with our lives,” he added.
Both Daignault and Vieira say vaccine passes in restaurants, bars and events are a way to balance safety and the economy.
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