Hawaii governor David Ige announced that he is delaying the launch of the state’s pre-travel testing program until September 1, 2020, according to a letter to the media from John Monahan, president and CEO of Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
“While Hawaii had hoped to reopen the state to trans-Pacific travel beginning August 1, 2020, due to the recent COVID-19 surges on the continental United States and other factors, our state officials have decided to postpone the reopening in order to protect the health and safety of our residents and visitors,” Monahan said. “As a result of this announcement, the 14-day travel quarantine will remain in place through August 31.”
Governor Ige, according to Hawaii News Now, said the outbreaks in several states are “not in control” and that he understands the delay will hit businesses that rely on visitors hard. He also said that the state still believes the pre-travel testing program will help Hawaii stay safe. Progress on the program is being made and more details will be in place by September 1. Previously announced, the program includes:
- Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) lab
- Travelers exempt for mandatory 14-day quarantine if testing negative no more than 72 hours in advance of travel
- If results are not available by time of arrival, quarantine necessary until test results received
- All travelers of all ages subject to pre-test requirement
- Individuals responsible for testing costs
- No commercial testing provided at Hawaii airports
The governor says the pre-test is one part of a multi-layered screening process, which includes arrival temperature checks, completion of the State Travel and Health form, and secondary screening for those with symptoms or temperatures of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
In response to the announcement, Chris Tatum, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority said, “We want to welcome back our visitors once our state is ready to do so in a safe manner that will hopefully avoid the need to backtrack in the future. Once we receive details on the process and requirements from the Department of Transportation and the DOH, we will share that information with the visitor industry.”