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The past few months has been extremely tough for Hawaii after the state introduced a 14-day quarantine in late March. Plans to welcome visitors have been pushed back several times but it appears Hawaii is ready…but with one caveat.
NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST
Yesterday, David Ige, the Hawaii Governor, announced that visitors will be able to visit Hawaii when it launches its pre-travel testing program on 15 October 2020.
Up to this point, Hawaii has not had an option for visitors to bypass the 14-day quarantine. However, with the new pre-travel testing program, visitors can skip the quarantine after they provide a negative coronavirus test result within 72 hours before arrival in Hawaii.
Since March, both residents and visitors have been subject to Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine. In other words, if you flew into any of the islands, you had to stay in your hotel room (or at your residence) for two weeks before going anywhere on the island.
Recognizing that most visitors do NOT want to spend 2 weeks in a hotel before experiencing a vacation has decimated the number of visitors to Hawaii.
Additionally, there have been several reports of Hawaii arresting countless visitors for violating the 14-day quarantine which I trust has thwarted any thoughts of “getting around” the rules.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
Here is how the process will work:
- Travelers need to be tested < 72 hours before arrival in Hawaii (note: There will be no option to be tested upon arrival)
- Testing is to be done with an FDA-approved NAAT nasal swab
- Negative results need to be provided by a CLIA certified laboratory
- Temperatures will be checked upon arrival
- Travelers will be required to fill out a travel and health form upon arrival
It’s important to understand that the 14-day quarantine still applies for passengers unable to provide proof of a negative test.
The past few months has been extremely tough for Hawaii as the islands rely heavily on tourism. I trust that attempting to balance the economy (read: we need tourists) with restricting access (read: an outbreak of COVID-19 cases could be catastrophic), has been impossible to say the least.
Implementing a pre-travel testing program is the ideal situation for Hawaii.
The only question I have is what happens if your test results do not arrive in time for departure? Personally, I’m not sure how the test results are conveyed (e.g. printed? Emailed? Text message? etc.) but it could prove a logistical nightmare if you had planned a shorter stay in Hawaii and still have to quarantine for the entire vacation.
Are you planning a trip to Hawaii given this development?