Live reporting, updated as of 1030 am, 9/18. Hawaii’s governor David Ige announced yesterday that starting October 15, visitors to Hawaii from the US mainland will be able to pre-test in order to avoid the current mandatory 14-day quarantine. He said, “This pre-travel testing will allow us to add a greater element of safety for travel into our state.” The program will be managed by Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who himself tested positive for COVID this week.
BOH: It is amazing to us just how quickly news is changing on the ground here in Hawaii. We are left wondering if resort bubbles are even going to be an issue after the governor’s afternoon announcement. Did Kauai’s major know this was coming? And given that the governor’s planned today’s statewide reopening announcement, why did he approve the Kauai resort bubbles just yesterday? Furthermore, what happened to the interisland pre-testing program the state planned to use as a pilot? When asked about that program this afternoon, Ige said, “Certainly, we are in discussions.”
This is being done in cooperation with CVS Pharmacies, Kaiser Permanente, and other partners to be announced. The program permits those who take an approved test within 72 hours of departing for Hawaii to avoid the quarantine that has been in effect since late March. Clarity is still needed as to whether it is actually 72 hours before departure or 72 hours before arrival. The availability of timely tests throughout the mainland is of course in question.
“Pre-travel testing provides travelers with an alternative to the mandatory 14-day quarantine if they are tested no earlier than 72 hours before their flight arrives with an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), performed using a nasal swab, and can show proof of negative test results from a CLIA certified laboratory. Travelers also will have their temperatures checked upon arrival and must fill out a travel and health form. Upon arrival in Hawaii, passengers unable to provide proof of an approved negative test will be required to go into quarantine for 14 days or until they can provide proof of negative test results.” – State of Hawaii.
More details are soon to be announced and we will provide an update here. That will include which test types will be accepted. Also will shorter term quarantine be available to those who haven’t yet received test results, and if so how will that work? Could testing in Hawaii become a possibility? Please check back later.
Many of you have asked about requiring tests for all Hawaii bound passengers. In that way, those testing negative would not be exposed to others who had not tested. It is not possible for either the state of Hawaii or the airlines to require that, as we have been told that is solely within the purview of the federal government (FAA).
Alex Da Silva, of Hawaiian Airlines just said, “We are ready to safely welcome Hawai‘i travelers under the state’s pre-travel testing program. It is another important safety layer that strengthens the comprehensive protocols Hawaiian Airlines and our visitor industry partners have adopted in recent months to protect our employees, guests and community. With these measures in place it is time to begin to reopen our economy.”
We think it is unlikely that this reopening date will change yet again, which is great news. For those of you planning on making Hawaii vacation plans, please stand by for an update on Hawaii airfare deals which are soon to be announced.
Image: State of Hawaii.