Ask the Mayor: ‘Why Are Cruise Ships Still Allowed to Come to Hawai’i During the Coronavirus Pandemic?’

March 15, 2020, 12:28 PM HST · Updated March 15, 9:50 PM
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NCL cruise ship at Kahului Harbor. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions 

Q: Why are cruise ships still allowed to come to Hawaii during the coronavirus pandemic?

A: Mahalo for your question and I also share your concerns. I have urged the federal government to implement a temporary ban on all cruise ships from docking in Hawaii.

Thankfully, many of the cruise ships have suspended operations, including Princess Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Viking Cruises. Other companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC cruises have also agreed to suspend outbound trips from the U.S. for 30 days as requested by the President.

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I want to clarify, again, though that our harbors are under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Transportation. However, the state is not able to close a harbor or stop people from disembarking without federal approval.

All vessel representatives are required to report sick or deceased passengers within the last 15 days to the CDC. If the Coast Guard sees anything of concern before the vessel arrives, it is reported to the CDC and they work cooperatively with the CDC, State, and the company to address any needs and concerns.

I’d like to stress to the public that our local U.S. Coast Guard command centers need their phone lines to remain clear for emergency search-and-rescue operations and other breaking events. If you have concerns and would like more information on the coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Info line at 2-1-1.

General information and resources on COVID-19 (coronavirus) can be found on the County of Maui’s website at mauicounty.gov. For primary sources of information and updates, please visit the State DOH website at https://health.hawaii.gov/ and CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email [email protected]

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