In the winter, when clouds and rain get folks who live on the shores of Puget Sound feeling antsy and desperate for a break from the gray, we very often dream of a very different shore: Hawaii.

The connection between this corner of the country and America’s most exotic state is longstanding. Flights from Seattle to the Hawaiian islands are frequent and usually full. Hawaiians, too, often have close ties to the Emerald City. Many Hawaiian students choose the University of Washington or one of our other regional universities when they come to the mainland to study.

For the coming weeks, though, we are being politely asked to stay away from Waikiki, Lahaina, Hanalei, the Kona Coast and every other lovely locale in the 50th state. Hawaii’s Gov. David Ige is pleading with tourists to not visit for at least a couple of months because hospital beds there are filled with coronavirus sufferers and the last thing Hawaiians need are hordes of mainlanders showing up and either getting infected or bringing infections with them.

For now, Ige is hoping people will voluntarily cancel their travel plans. If things get worse, though, retightened travel restrictions and a quarantine are possibilities. In the land of aloha, tourism is the number one industry, so telling visitors to stay home is highly unusual. But, then, unusual is the order of the day as the pandemic lingers like a very unwelcome guest.

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