(BIVN) – As of March 27, there were only five resort hotels still open on Hawaiʻi island due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ross Birch, the Executive Director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said during a conference call with assorted elected officials and community leaders on Friday, that rather than name the hotels that are closed, it is easier to name the ones that are still open. They are: The Sheraton Kona, Hilton Waikoloa, Fairmont Orchid, Grand Naniloa, and the Hilo Hawaiian.
Some smaller lodgings and bed & breakfasts remain open, as well, Birch said.
Those on the call added that the situation continues to change every day and the hotels that are open today may have to shutter in the coming days, as well.
Driving the closures are the loss of visitors due to the pandemic and the related government mandates, such as Governor David Ig’e 14-day quarantine for all arrivals to Hawaiʻi, and the stay-at-home order.
On Friday, Birch said there were 8 flights scheduled to arrive in Kona, holding 109 passengers. Of that, 39 were residents and only 18 were visitors.
One arrival had a total of 5 passengers: 4 crew, and 1 resident.
It was also said during the call that of the 5,000 employees on the Kohala Coast, 4 out of 5 are their losing jobs.
Unemployment insurance sites are inundated and people are waiting weeks for the claims process to go through. Food security is going to be a concern for the unemployed, call participants stated.