(Right Country) – It may seem to you like our whole nation is shutdown as countless Americans shelter at home, social distance, and self-quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Would you believe, however, that some are simply taking advantage of cheap airfare?
It’s true, and locals in Hawaii are not pleased.
According to Maui Now, about 50 Maui residents and community leaders in the county of Maui, which includes the Islands of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, have been gathering to protest those from the mainland with so little care for the health of Maui’s residents, not to mention, significant elderly population.
“Protect Our Elders, Tourist Go Home, Maui Is Closed,” one sign at the Molokai Airport on Wednesday read.
“Life Over Profit,” read another.
Other protest featured signs that read, bluntly, “Maui is closed.”
As of Saturday, the Aloha state had 56 confirmed or presumptive positive coronavirus cases according to the Hawaii Department of Health.
Prior to the protests, Gov. David Ige had only gone as far as to urge state employees to limit nonessential travel to the state rather than recommending tourists refrain from visiting.
It goes without saying that tourism is the lifeblood of Hawaii, which is the most popular tourist destination in the world.
In response to mounting concern over the influx of tourists from the mainland, Ige instituted a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all travelers into the island state, both residents and visitors.
MARCH 21, 2020: Today I issued a second supplemental emergency proclamation (https://t.co/nCAmi6Jh8f) ordering ALL individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving or returning to the State of Hawaiʻi to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/FQczZ4d0J9
— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) March 22, 2020
Many residents are still not satisfied.
“It’s time for the community to step up and protect our kūpuna [elders] and most vulnerable. If our government will not, we have no choice but to make it clear, right now visitors are not welcome,” resident Kaena Elaban told Maui Now.
Online ticket companies, however, continue to lower their prices, which only adds to the appeal.
“We need to shut this thing down. We cannot have this wait-and-watch attitude. We need to close the state down,” former Gov. Neil Abercrombie told KHNL-TV.