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Ige "COVID-19 testing results must be in hand prior to departure"
By News Release @ 11:04 AM :: 455 Views :: Tourism, COVID-19

Pre-travel COVID-19 testing results must be in hand prior to departure for Hawaiʻi

Air Canada and WestJet partnering with State of Hawaiʻi for Canadian pre-travel testing

News Release from Office of the Governor,  Nov 19, 2020

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige announced today that starting on Nov. 24, travelers wishing to bypass the 14-day mandatory quarantine must have their COVID-19 test results – from a trusted testing partner – prior to departure for the State of Hawaiʻi.

If test results are not available before boarding the final leg of the trip, the traveler must quarantine for 14 days or the length of the stay, whichever is shorter.

“We’re taking this added safety precaution now in response to the dramatically increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the continental United States and around the world. The health of our residents and visitors is our primary concern, especially as more  people travel to Hawaiʻi to celebrate the holidays,” said Gov. Ige.

The new policy applies to domestic transpacific flights and international flights departing from locations in which the State of Hawaiʻi pre-testing programs are in place.

Canadian pre-travel testing program

Gov. Ige also announced that beginning in mid-December, travelers flying from Canada to Hawaiʻi may bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from labs identified by Air Canada and WestJet. The test must be taken within  72 hours of travel to the State of Hawai‘i, and a negative test result must be received prior to departure. Travelers without proof of a negative test result prior to boarding their flight to Hawai‘i will be required to self-quarantine for 14-days or the length of stay, whichever is shorter.

“Many Canadians love to visit Hawaiʻi during the winter months to escape the cold weather, so the timing for this works well. Hawaiʻi has the most rigorous pre-travel testing program in the United States, and we’re grateful to Air Canada and WestJet for making it available to their passengers,” said Gov. David Ige.

Air Canada and WestJet will be identifying testing entities in Canada, with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health’s approval, for purposes of the pre-testing program. Canadian residents should look to these Canadian-based carriers for the testing options in their country:

Air Canada: https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home.html#/
WestJet: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/travel-info/covid-testing

The pre-travel testing program is one layer of the state’s comprehensive Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program that makes every step of the travel process safer – from pre-arrival testing to post-arrival accommodations and experiences.

“The Safe Travels Hawaii pre-travel testing program has been a valuable extra layer of safety for the state of Hawaii and is being emulated across the country by other states,” Lt. Gov Josh Green said. “We look forward to welcoming our friends and family from Canada and appreciate the efforts of WestJet and Air Canada to make the process as safe and smooth as possible.”

“We’re pleased that we’re able to work with partners to open up travel for Canadian visitors. We look forward to welcoming travelers from Canada and ask them to visit with aloha, following health and safety protocols and taking part in voluntary post-arrival testing to ensure that they are free of COVID-19,” said Mayor Michael P. Victorino, Maui County.

“The resumption of transpacific travel from Canada will strengthen Hawai‘i’s gradual economic recovery; and HTA extends its gratitude to Air Canada, WestJet and to all of our travel partners across Canada. Concurrently, the stricter test result requirement announced by the governor today is a prudent and urgent response to thwarting the spread of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i, while our local visitor industry sustains its leadership efforts in restoring jobs and the economy of Hawai‘i,” said Hawai‘i Tourism Authority president and CEO John De Fries.

“We welcome Gov. Ige’s announcement today designating Air Canada as one of Hawaiʻi’s Trusted Travel partners and extending the State of Hawaiʻi’s pre-travel testing program to Air Canada’s customers. Programs like this that provide viable, effective and alternative options to blanket quarantine requirements, are an important step to safely reopen travel around the world. We look forward to our Honolulu and Maui flights from Vancouver and Calgary starting mid-December onboard our state-of-the-art Dreamliner aircraft, featuring our industry-leading Air Canada ClearCare+ biosafety measures,” said Timothy Liu, Managing Director, Sales Planning at Air Canada.

“On behalf of WestJet and our guests, thank you to Gov. Ige, the State of Hawai’i and the teams involved in Hawai’i’s Trusted Travel Partner Program. This health and science-based approach to eliminating quarantine will help build confidence in travel to your beautiful state and is an important step in getting the tourism and travel industry back up and running while safely supporting the many Canadians who view Hawaiʻi as an wonderful winter getaway,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer.

Canadian nationals traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country. Travel restrictions on U.S. travel to Canada remain in place.

Link to photos here

Link to video here

TGI: Mayor Derek Kawakami had been pushing for this change

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