When Eric and I were young and innocent, we honeymooned on Kauai. While here, we surfed, snorkeled, hiked, and beached it. We boated, helicoptered, and attended a luau. Most surprisingly to me, we also bought a one-bedroom time-share unit on Kauai’s north shore. It may not have been the most prudent decision for a young couple, but it was the time-share that kept us coming back, and eleven years later after first honeymooning on Kauai, we moved here. We are such a cliche. We knew nothing about Kauai. We knew little more eleven years later when we moved to Kauai. And yet here we are 20 years later.
This time last year, some 30,000 visitors landed in Hawaii every single day. Right now, as our mayor says, Kauai is closed. We are on vacation. And yet according to Hawaii Tourism, 17 people arrived on Kauai yesterday and declared themselves as “visitors.”
Are they bold? Stupid? Ignorant?
Last week, a honeymoon couple arrived on Kauai. Instead of hunkering down in their hotel room for 14 days as the current law requires all incoming visitors do, they went to the beach. Then, they posted photos about their excursions on social media.
Yesterday, they got blasted for their behavior. One woman, a nurse, made a convincing argument, pointing out that our island is woefully unprepared for an onslaught of COVID-19 patients. According to one report, we have a grand total of nine critical care hospital beds on the island.
I admit to diving deep into the couple’s social media accounts, galled by a photo of the two leaving a temple in their wedding dress and tux—while also wearing face masks . “You’ve got to make the most out of every situation,” the groom wrote. So, it’s not like they were living under a rock somewhere and didn’t know anything about the infectious nature of COVID-19. Ignorance was not at play here. They knew about social distancing.
I learned numerous other things about the couple. He’s a college athlete and proposed to his wife on center field in front of a fan-filled stadium. They have more than 10,000 followers on their Youtube channel. In the days before their wedding and honeymoon, they quarantined with family in a swank house before arriving on Kauai.
But I also learned the groom raised $10,000 for koalas during the recent Australian wildfires.
Here’s the thing: As tone-deaf and privileged as their decision was to honeymoon on Kauai and violate COVID-19 quarantine rules, I feel bad for them. My take is they are basically good kids who made a horrifically bad decision. Now, forevermore, memories of their Kauai honeymoon will include the derision and disgust that chased them off the island. Hopefully, they realize why Kauaians got all up in their virtual faces. Hopefully, they’ll acknowledge their mistake. But, they may not. They may just think Kauaians are rude. And if they do, they won’t have learned a damn thing.
Three visitors have been arrested on Kauai for not following the 14-day quarantine rule upon arrival. But it’s not just a few visitors who are violating shelter-in-place orders. In Honolulu, police have issued 353 citations for emergency law violations, most issued at beach parks, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Our state COVID-19 cases increased to 387 today. Maui announced its first death. Kauai notched upward to 18 cases.
Be well. Be sane.