HONOLULU- We have built an eclectic collection of face-masks: Colorful ones, plain N95 masks, even a blue-and-gold one with a Cal Berkeley bear.
For a short week, we escaped to Hawaii, which is a travel bargain because of Covid. On the islands, vaccinating is upwards of 65 percent. We have been vaccinated since spring, and we brought a pile of masks along.
Visitors are required to show vaccination cards before exiting the airport. Hotels check vaccination cards at check-in. It is the strictest procedure I’ve seen. (A lost credit card can be replaced, but DO NOT lose a vaccination card). The six-foot rule is enforced, even at the beach.
I’ve noticed some Japanese tourists have worn masks in pre-COVID visits to Hawaii. Now we’re all joining them. The mayor has participated in the effort, handing out free masks to beach goers at Waikiki.
Despite all this, Hawaii has still struggled with COVID. Going into Labor Day, hospitals’ ICU units were full or near full. The state has just 223 licensed ICU beds.
Of course, it is still possible to have a great time in Hawaii in the COVID era. We are reading books while glancing out at the ocean, taking long walks on the beach, eating fresh fish, and swimming often. Aloha!