Governor Ige, Lt. Governor Green, and other Hawaii officials have just completed a press conference on October 15 reopening, now just over one week away. Green said there will still be more information in the coming days. Unfortunately, many of today’s answers were still unclear!
Ige said, we are “just one week away from October 15 and the start of our Safe Travels program.” As we know and Ige reiterated, airlines will increases schedules mostly starting November 1, and hotels and other accommodations will be opening incrementally through the month of December.
“We are committed to continually improving the program as we move forward. I am confident that we will launch a program on October 15” — Governor Ige.
Ige on interisland quarantine.
There will be no quarantine when simply changing planes in Honolulu. How that will be managed was not made clear since a 14 day quarantine is in effect for interisland flights. Ige said that there is frustration regarding the interisland quarantine and on that note added, “we continue to work and find a solution.” Beat of Hawaii: We will still need to await more news on this impediment.
Will islands actually be able to opt-out of the Hawaii travel reopening?
The governor did not offer specifics one way or the other but said that he is continuing to work with all the mayors. When asked directly about the Big Island’s mayor saying they would not participate in the reopening, Governor Ige said, “I was not informed that the Big Island was not participating.”
An on-arrival program to retest 10% of all arrivals may hold the answer to the mayors’ concerns. See more on that below.
Ige said “I am committed to the mayors. We all know that bringing back transpacific travelers is essential to our community.” He was vague on whether in the end, counties will or will not be able to opt-out. Ige reiterated that “None of the mayors have told me that they will opt-out.” Beat of Hawaii: The governor is clearly trying to reopen all islands in a mutually agreeable way, rather than by dictating a decision. We will still need to wait to see how this all shakes out. Regarding the Big Island, Ige said he and Mayor Kim are trying to find a way to reopen on October 15.
Specific approved testing partners only!
Lieutenant Governor Green confirmed, as we have stated multiple times, that only specific trusted partners test results will be accepted. “The test has to come from a trusted partner.” These partners are those companies that have already worked through the details with the Department of Health.
All transpacific travelers will complete the mandatory health questionnaire and upload their test results here: https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/
The list of testing partners is as follows: We are updating this with direct links to the specific testing partners’ travel testing web pages as soon as we have them.
Beat of Hawaii: Green has stated that there will be more trusted partners added once the pre-travel program gets underway.
Trial pre-travel testing program to start prior to October 15.
A program to test all procedures will begin prior to the October 15 reopening date. It is set to begin between Vault and Hawaiian Airlines several days in advance “so that we can test out the program,” according to Green.
Post-arrival pilot 2nd test program.
A post-arrival 2nd test being panned plan will offer what is being called surveillance testing in order to find any additional cases of the disease. It will not be fully randomized, and 10% of all arrivals will be re-tested. It will take place four days after arrival and will be done as a pilot. It is not clear yet who will pay for those tests.
Lt. Governor Green spoke with the mayors today about this new surveillance testing program and they asked for more information. He believes all the counties will participate although confirmation of that is still to be confirmed. Other details too are still being finalized. The state will allow people to ask for their results although the primary purpose is to understand the success of the primary pre-travel testing program.
How many travelers will Hawaii get at the outset?
No one is quite sure. Hawaiian Airlines Avi Mannis said, “We continue to expect the recovery to be slow and gradual. We are encouraged by the interested. It will take time.” He said there is some increase in demand following October 15, but from his comments, it did not appear to be substantial. Beat of Hawaii: We expect Hawaii will start at a base of 3,000-5,000 daily arrival and grow from there depending on how things go.