STATE TO LAUNCH COVID-19 PRE-TRAVEL TESTING PROGRAM FOR OUT-OF-STATE TRAVELERS AUGUST 1
News Release, June 24, 2020
Transpacific travelers to Hawaiʻi will be able to bypass the 14-day quarantine starting on August 1, if they first show proof that they were tested for COVID-19 with negative results.
Governor David Ige made the announcement during a news conference today at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.
“We are working on an alternative to the 14-day mandatory quarantine that would allow a safe and healthy way for travelers to return to the islands,” Governor Ige said. “Today, I’m announcing that beginning August 1st, we will implement a pre-travel testing program for travelers to Hawaiʻi as an alternative to the 14-day mandatory quarantine. Starting August 1st, travelers who have a valid negative COVID-19 test prior to arriving will not be subject to the 14-day mandatory quarantine. The quarantine will remain in place for those who choose to not get a pre-travel test.”
“It’s been almost 13 weeks since we instituted the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers entering the state of Hawaiʻi, but it’s been one of the most effective measures in helping us control the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor David Ige as he stood at the podium. “We’ve been working diligently to develop a multi-layered testing and screening process that would allow us to invite travelers back to the islands.”
“The health of our community continues to be our primary focus and priority,” the governor added. “This multi-layered health screening process allows travelers to return, and allows us to continue to protect the health and safety of our community.”
“Temperature checks and screening will continue,” Governor Ige said. “Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees – or if they have been experiencing other symptoms – will have to go through a secondary screening process upon arrival at the airport with trained healthcare staff. They will also, at that point in time, be offered a COVID-19 test to further evaluate their symptoms. Travelers will be required to fill the state of Hawaiʻi health form, which will be verified upon arrival.”
From the Hawaiʻi Joint Information Center:
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. No testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport.
DOH 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.
“We do know this COVID pandemic has had tremendous impact on our economy,” the governor said. “Businesses have closed. More than 200,000 residents have filed for unemployment since the beginning of this pandemic. Hawaiʻi went from the lowest rate of unemployment in the nation to the second-highest in the course of several weeks. And at the end of July, much of the federal support will no longer be available. Now is the time to work together as a community to ensure that our residents and local businesses can safely return to a larger volume of travelers.”
State Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson commented, “Lifting the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travel will require an intensive airport screening process, increased contact tracing and monitoring of cases, and careful tracking of the state’s progress in controlling and containing the coronavirus. This is a huge undertaking by the state and a tremendous commitment from public health as we embark on these new and untested initiatives and face many unknowns. It is definitely a new normal and we have much to learn as we lift restrictions and rebuild our economy while safeguarding the health of our people.”
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green added, “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, anyway 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 Hawai‘i who have shown their aloha, patience and resilience throughout this challenging time. We have more than five weeks before August 1 to finalize details and make this the best program in America, and we are up for the task.”
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Big Q: What do you think of Hawaii tourism and trans-Pacific travel reopening Aug. 1?