Hawaii Confirmed Visitors Who Test Negative for COVID-19 Prior to Arriving in Hawaii Can Avoid the 14-Day Quarantine, Effective August 1, 2020.
The pre-test will need to be a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Hawaii, and is paid for by the visitor.
Hawaii Governor Ige announced the plan 6/24/20, noting that “The health of our community remains our primary focus…[pre-travel testing]…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.”
Note that unlike Alaska, no testing will be available upon arrival at any airport in Hawaii. This is presumably because there continues to be a shortage of testing capacity, particularly relative to the expected numbers of arriving visitors. Even Alaska's plan noted that airport testing was not guaranteed to all arrivals, due to limited testing capacity.
There will continue to be, however, temperature checks at airports in Hawaii for all arrivals. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees or who has other symptoms will be required to have secondary screening procedures, conducted by healthcare staff.
There will also continue to be a travel health form, where visitors must provide the address they will be staying at during their stay. At the airport, visitors who are subject to the 14-day quarantine have the cell phone numbers they have provided checked, to verify it's a valid phone number for them.
Tourism prior to the pandemic constituted 17% of Hawaii's GDP, and the collapse of tourism during COVID-19 has contributed to high unemployment, since over 200,000 jobs were supported by tourism. Resorts, restaurants and tourism-related businesses have pressed for a way for visitors to be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine, which has all but shut down visits to Hawaii.
At the same time, many kama'aina (Hawaii locals) have very ambivalent feelings about tourism. Many visitors view Hawaii purely as a vacation or party destination, and express only superficial interest, if any, in Hawaii's culture and heritage.
The pre-testing plan makes sense, even though, as many have pointed out, the PCR tests aren't perfect, and some will obtain false negative results who are in fact infected, or will become infected after testing and prior to arriving in Hawaii.
What is more concerning is the expected number of visitors who will both not be tested prior to getting on a flight to Hawaii, and will not abide by the strict 14-day quarantine. Not only do they stand to potentially infect other visitors on the flight, the sheer numbers are likely to significantly increase the coronavirus cases in Hawaii.
If you've visited Hawaii, what is your favorite Hawaii memory?
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