Hawai‘i Hotel Bubbles: Counties Can Now Enter “Enhanced Movement Quarantine” Agreements with Resorts
The governor’s latest supplementary emergency proclamation, which was signed today, includes a provision that empowers the counties to establish an Enhanced Movement Quarantine or EMQ through agreements with resort or hotel facilities.
Participating travelers in the hotel bubble or geo-fencing concept would be required to stay in clearly defined geographical areas and ensure limited contact with those not subject to self-quarantine.
“We continue to work on digitizing and refining the travel screening process as well as developing enforceable, safe alternatives to self-quarantine,” said Gov. Ige.
Gov. Ige discussed the concept during a press briefing on Zoom, and was joined by Maui Mayor Michael Victorino and Kauaʻi Mayor Derek Kawakami.
Mayor Victorino clarified that the Temptation Island filming planned for Maui, which has since been delayed, was not part of the hotel bubble concept, but was approved through the governor and State Film Commission in coordination with the Maui Film Commissioner.
Mayor Victorino announced earlier this afternoon that production on the reality television show has been delayed due to current COVID-19 health and safety concerns in Maui County. This comes a day after the mayor had confirmed filming of the reality TV production at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort through mid-October.
The mayor said he would be setting up a group made of of business and private sector and nonprofits that are indicative of the community to provide advice to ensure the interest of the community are considered in future discussions.
“The industry complies with all of the existing mandatory quarantines,” said Gov. Ige in response to our inquiry during the press briefing. “If they do have cast and crew that are coming in from out of state, they do fulfill the mandatory 14 day quarantine. As an essential worker, they can be in quarantine in the hotel. If they go directly to a film site, they can film and then they are required to return to quarantine… In addition the industry and the unions have agreed to strict protocols for testing all individuals involved with the production.”
Details on Enhanced Movement Quarantine
Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami joined Governor Ige virtually, for today’s news briefing, to discuss the Enhanced Movement Quarantine. The Enhanced Movement Quarantine (EMQ), to be established by each individual county, provides residents and visitors the ability to spend time on other islands without being in 14-day traveler quarantine.
Key provisions of the EMQ include:
- Counties can establish EMQ programs through agreements with resort or hotel facilities.
- Travelers who enter the State as part of an EMQ program must comply with all State, county and industry safety and health standards applicable to such program and complete all mandatory documentation.
- EMQ restricts participating travelers to clearly defined geographical areas and ensures limited contact with those not subject to self-quarantine. Geographical areas may include adjacent shoreline areas where beach access is permitted by relevant state and county authorities, provided that members of the public are given notice of the EMQ and are not prohibited from accessing the shoreline area.
- Includes safety, monitoring and enforcement measures.
- Provides capacity for isolating any positive or suspected COVID-19 cases and provides necessary wraparound services (food, necessities, etc) for such persons.
- Requires participating travelers to sign waivers confirming they have voluntarily elected to participate in the EMQ, will voluntarily agreed to electronic monitoring and other requirements and voluntarily waived express privacy protections, including to health information, as necessary to accomplish public health purposes.
- Requires participating travelers to bear all costs related to their participating in the EMQ, including monitoring, isolation, care, lodging and other expenses.
Mayor Kawakami’s Vision for EMQ or Resort Bubble Concept
“We are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to balancing our physical and economic health, and clearly health and safety are paramount. We know the 14-day quarantine has helped keep the virus at bay, but that comes with a cost,” Mayor Kawakami explained during today’s news briefing.
Mayor Kawakami encouraged Governor Ige to look for active ways to re-introduce visitors to Hawai‘i, while protecting residents.
He added, “At a certain point we need to learn to co-exist with this virus and the EMQ or “Resort Bubble” is just one step in the staged approach for a broader opening of travel. Kawakami said the concept is very much a work in progress, but he is excited to get the project up and running, though not before it is properly vetted. Factors under consideration include; working with resorts that are willing to meet all safety and security measures and requirements; and testing of a geo-fencing electronic quarantine monitor.
Mayor Kawakami said EMQ should make enforcement of quarantine measures more manageable, but ultimately the concept comes down to protecting ourselves and resort staffs. “Technology is not a replacement for human behavior,” he said.
Meantime, the EMQ relating to resort bubbles is part of the governor’s 12th supplementary emergency proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period through Sept. 30.
The emergency proclamation leaves in place the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers and the inter-island travel quarantine only for travelers arriving in the counties of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, Maui and Kalawao (Kalaupapa).
The proclamation also:
- Mandates that all persons must wear masks in compliance with the county orders, rules and directives approved by the governor.
- Extends the prohibition on evictions for non-payment of rent until Sept. 30.