Local Hotels Temporarily Shut Down to Help Slow COVID-19 Crisis
The Hawaiian family-owned Hilo Seaside Hotel will close Monday and the Kona location is slated to shut its doors sometime in the coming week.
“For the continued safety of our employees, guests and community and out of respect for this crisis, we will be temporarily closing Hilo Seaside Hotel and Kona Seaside Hotel until further notice,” said Breeani Sumera-Lee, manager of the Hilo location.
The Seaside Hotels were founded in 1956. Today, the hotels are still owned and operated by the same Hawaiian family.
Hilo Reeds Bay Hotel also announced on March 21, that it is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The only family-owned hotel on Banyan Drive, General Manager and President Donald T. Inouye, said it has become apparent to him that this is a crisis requiring immediate action for the benefit of all employees and their family’s health as well as their future employment with the hotel.
Inouye said there are no reported coronavirus cases at the lodging. They have waived cancelation fees and have canceled all reservations from Monday over the next 45 days. They will continue to take reservations for the future.
“A determination to open will be made at the proper time after the crisis is over and especially when it is safe for guests and staff,” Inouye stated.
On O‘ahu, Ko Olina announced on March 21 that it would shut down operations at its hotels including the Four Seasons, Disney’s Aulani, the Ko Olina Golf Club and Ko Olina Marina. It also includes all activity desks, wedding chapels, lagoon beaches restrooms and parking lots.
Gov. David Ige announced Saturday the state would implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers coming to the Hawaiian Islands, which is set to start on March 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. The decision was supported by all counties, the tourism industry, business community and Hawaiian Airlines.
Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association, also spoke at the press conference and said the hospitality industry stand behind Ige’s actions.
“The longer we delay, we’ll suffer,” Hannemann said. “We appreciate the governor reaching out to us. We want to be clear this is all about public health and safety.”
Hannemann said he wasn’t at liberty to say which hotels would go down the road of closure. He added that it wouldn’t surprise him if other locations chose that path as “these are dire times.”
Hanneman said he is very concerned about what the impact will have on businesses and the working people.
“Eventually we’ll make it through, but we need to continue the spirit of cooperation,” he said.
There are currently 48 positive or presumptive cases statewide. Three have been identified in Hawai‘i County.