More than 3,500 visitors have come to Hawaii since quarantine began
There’s no question that during this COVID-19 invasion, we in Hawaii would just as soon not have people from other states flying in here — mainly because of low airfares right now, and because we have a relatively low infection and of our relatively low death rate.
That plus the recently-acquired grievance about 10 million tourists helping crowd our beach, parks and roads each year.
We can make it a hassle for them while the virus persists — paperwork on where they’ll stay, 14-day quarantines, temperature checks — but we can’t keep outsiders outside.
The Supreme Court’s been pretty consistent on that, relying on a precedent-setting decision that the 14th Amendment gives us the right to travel, period.
(1) the right to enter one state and leave another, an inherent right with historical support from the Articles of Confederation.
(2) the right to be treated as a welcome visitor rather than a hostile stranger.
(3) the right to be treated equally to native-born citizens.
But here’s a quirk: SCOTUS never gave the power to protect that right to the feds. It rests with the states. So if we kept someone out, the state that someone came from would have to make it an issue. Would they?
We only have that 14-day quarantine for incoming people but it hasn’t worked well because we can’t (or won’t) track every person every day to make sure they’re not out and about. We could do that with ankle bracelets, but is that a privacy violation? Probably, yes.
“The only thing we’re doing is notifying the hotels, and hotel staff check,” state Adjutant General Kenneth Hara told a special legislative committee.
A British reporter here says he spoke with eight individuals who arrived in Hawaii from four U.S. cities and none have received a call checking on them.
New Zealand doesn’t have a 14th Amendment because it does not have a written constitution. It’s a parliamentary democracy like England. So when this virus struck, it immediately imposed strict border controls and limits on travel and tourism, an industry worth $24 billion a year, until a vaccine is discovered.
And unlike other western nations, which are just trying to suppress the virus, New Zealand has set a goal of completely snuffing it out before reopening the economy.
Australia has clamped down so hard that police will stop and check cars (“where are you going?”, “why four of you in the car?”) or even people out walking. That country wants you in-house, period. And yes, it has a constitution.
I guess for us it’s nice not to have all those tourists on our beaches and trails. But we’re missing their money and all the jobs they create.
That’s been a growing feeling here for a couple years now. How can we keep the tourism money flowing but not the tourists — or at least not so many tourists? How can we welcome rich tourists who spend more, but not on 2nd homes, driving up prices for residents?
The answer to our dilemma is to move away from tourism as the prime revenue source and into something else that’s less damaging to our quality of life.
That would be science and technology.
But the folks who spent $100-$300 million buying a going hotel business ain’t gonna love me for saying that!