It seems like every week, there is a new update on the tourism status in Hawaii. Hawaii recently opened to inter-island travel within Hawaii which is a first step to loosening travel restrictions for Hawaii. Now, there is news for the rest of us that want to visit the islands. This announcement relaxes the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for both visitors and residents returning to Hawaii. Here is the latest from the press release by Governor David Ige.
The Changes Effective August 1, 2020
Gov. David Ige announced today all travelers arriving in Hawai‘i from out-of-state will be required to get a valid COVID-19 test prior to their arrival, and to show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine. The pre-travel testing program begins Aug. 1.
Out-of-state travelers arriving in Hawai‘i must get a PCR test prior to arrival from any testing location approved by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health. Evidence of a negative test result must be provided upon arrival in Hawai‘i. Without this, passengers arriving from out-of-state will be subject to the 14-day quarantine. You must have these test results prior to arrival in Hawaii – there will be no testing conducted at airports.
The Health Department is still in the process of developing this program but anticipates requiring an FDA-approved PCR test from a CLIA certified laboratory. Travelers will be required to provide printed or emailed pre-test certification as evidence of a negative test result. Travelers will be responsible for the cost of the pre-travel test.
Temperature checks will continue at airports across the state. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees or who is experiencing other symptoms will be required to undergo a secondary screening at the airport with trained healthcare staff.
Also, travelers will be required to fill out the State Travel and Health form.
What I Didn’t See In The Governor’s Press Release
I found it interesting that two details weren’t addressed by the press release:
- Will face-coverings be required?
- Does this cover U. S. residents only or people traveling from all parts of the world?
I have two phone calls into the Governor’s Communication Office and I will update these questions as soon as they return my phone calls.
What The Governors Office Is Saying
“The health of our community remains our primary focus. This multi-layered pre-travel testing and screening process allows travelers an alternative to the 14-day travel quarantine in a way that protects the health and safety of our kama‘āina and visitors,” said Gov. Ige. “Now is the time to work together to ensure that our local businesses can safely re-open to incoming travelers.”
“Asking passengers to get a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel is one more tool in our layered screening process that will help keep Hawai’i safe. As we navigate this pandemic, any way we can minimize risk while bringing some normalcy to our daily lives is the right path forward. I appreciate the incredible work of the partners involved in this process, and special thanks to the people of Hawaii who have shown their aloha, patience and resilience throughout this challenging time,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
A Delicate Balancing Act
Hawaii is in a unique situation. There are health concerns of the indigenous people of Hawaii. The number 1 industry for Hawaii is tourism. Governor Ige is walking a tightrope to balance both. The unemployment rate for Hawaii through May, 2020 stood at 22.6%. His approach is similar to the steps that Alaska took to reopen to visitors.
Here are the Covid-19 charts for June 24, 2020:
When will Hawaii open? This is the question that people ask me the most. Certainly, this is very good news because Hawaii as a destination typically requires advance planning for airline tickets and lodging. This announcement will salvage some of the summer vacation season. Hawaii’s employment situation is in shambles and the residents will be able to go back to work in the tourist industry.
Governor Ige has relaxed the conditions. It is up to tourists to follow the conditions to the letter. The last thing that Hawaii needs is to reverse course because visitors to the islands can’t or won’t meet the conditions. The Health Department in Hawaii is still working on the testing requirements. I will update that information when it is available.
As we have seen during the pandemic, the situation remains fluid and could change at any time. Travel Codex will continue to monitor the tourism status in Hawaii.