This is a crucial time frame for Hawaii in terms of tourism and a Hawaii quarantine in force. With an affective control in reducing Covid spread to minimal amount, Hawaii is focused on showing the state as a safe and secure vacation spot for visitors to the island. Indeed, Governor Ige has just extended the 14-day quarantine requirement for all incoming flights from the mainland and international locations and is slowly opening up the state to tourism on the islands. The state government and tourism industry are currently tackling what the upcoming opening of travel in Hawaii will look like and keeping the local population safe in during Covid times.
When will tourism open up for Hawaii travel?
First to open is interisland travel
Starting June 16th, interisland travel is opening up with all the islands and people within the state can visit the various islands without a 14-day Hawaii quarantine. This first step will hopefully give a small entry to inter-island flights and a boost local economies opening up to the tourism trade. A new set up for interisland travel at the airport includes a temperature check at the airport and a declaration form you need to fill out with health questions and then checked prior to check in at the counters. (any passengers with temperatures over 100.4 will not allowed to go on the flight). As usual masks and social distancing is required at the airport and passing TSA check points.
Transportation officials are also requiring changes for arrivals and departures with different gates used for arriving and departing at each airport to minimize crowd control in each area of the airport.
Phase 2 opening of economy and local businesses. Pacific travel to islands will start August 1st.
Local businesses have started opening up in all the islands to medium risk businesses include dine in at restaurants indoors and outdoors, gyms and salons with social distancing requirements. Gatherings of no more than 10 people are still being enforced along with face masks and social distancing at various stores and businesses.
Starting August 1st, Governor Ige and announced that a pre-testing program will be enacted to allow visitors to avoid a 14 day quarantine that will still be in place after August. Travelers having a valid Covid negative test done 72 hours prior to traveling to Hawaii will avoid having to do the 14 day quarantine anywhere on the islands. A PCR test is required prior to arrival from any CDC approved testing location that is approved by the Hawai‘i State. There are no testing services offered at any of the Hawaii airports.
** More details are forthcoming on details to the exact paperwork required.
For those choosing not to do a pre-travel Covid test, the quarantine will still be in place when you arrive the islands.
Thermal scanners will be installed at all gates for incoming flights by July 31st.
Phase 3 long term Covid measures
Facial recognition tracking will be installed at the airports by the end of December time frame as an additional preventive Covid measure for passengers with temperatures exceeding 100.4 degrees. Longer range plans for post Covid are still in the planning phase.
Opening up Hawaii from the mainland and international travel
Even though the governor has been pushing back the 14-day Hawaii quarantine to the end of July, tourism is going to eventually open up again to employ the over 220,000 workers that support this industry in Hawaii. There are a few proposals that are currently being proposed at the state level.
Lt. Governor Josh Green has been proposing the travelers can visit without a quarantine if they do a Covid test prior to departing. He has been actively working to propose a program with large scale CVS to do widespread testing which is estimated to cost approximately $ 120 at its over 1200 nationwide stores. Mr. Green is also a doctor from Kona, HI and has been effectively tracking the caseloads of Covid testing and tracking throughout the state and updating the progress regularly to citizens. His main proposal is twofold, first a temperature screen to see if the passenger has a fever prior to boarding and then do an active Covid test for a substitute for the 14-day quarantine requirement. Dr. Green is also proposing some type of joint share/cost of the testing with state government from Covid funds that have been granted to the state.
Experts from UHero the East-West Center, and the medical school epidemiologist analyzed that the public health system is limited in capacity and a diagnostic test is important to keep Hawaii safe.
State health director Bruce Anderson is also proposing a travel bubble program that allows reopening travel first to destinations with similar infection rates like Japan, New Zealand, or even Alaska.
Nothing has been set in stone at the moment for either a travel bubble program or the two-step testing proposal prior to the extension of the 14-day Hawaii quarantine period.
In any case flights are still operating to Hawaii but the 14-day Hawaii quarantine is being strictly required and actually monitored with inspections happening for visiting tourists to track their quarantines. There have been extreme measures enforced with some jailing or fines given to visitors that have not been following the quarantine requirements at their hotels or place of stay.
Additional reading on Covid in Hawaii
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