Starting August 1, travelers to Hawaii who test negative for COVID-19 (coronavirus) no more than 72 hours before arrival will be able to avoid the state’s mandatory quarantine, according to Governor David Ige. He adds the “pre-testing” plan will allow the tourism industry to reopen without a significant spike in new cases.
In March, Hawaii implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for incoming residents and travelers; essential workers are exempt.
“We believe this process of pre-testing does allow us to bring travelers back to Hawaii in a way that maintains a priority on the health and safety of our community,” he said, according to Hawaii News Now.
The plan includes a travel form, health screening questions and a temperature check. Hawaii will be working with CVS and others to create a system to access traveler testing results to ensure they’re legitimate.
While recognizing “there are many concerns,” Ige pointed to Alaska, which uses a similar model and has had success with it. Alaska, however, also provides testing upon arrival; Ige doesn’t believe this is practical for the Hawaiian Islands.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell shared concern over the prospect of reopening tourism, give the spike in coronavirus cases in the U.S. over recent weeks. According to The New York Times, cases are increasing in 30 states (including Hawaii). In the Hawaii News Now story, Caldwell notes that there are roughly 240,000 unemployed people in Hawaii and reopening to visitors is the best way to get many of them working again.