Hawaii has thrown a lifeline to eager travelers willing to visit the sun-soaked archipelago in the next couple of months. Yesterday, its Tourism Authority announced that negative pre-travel COVID tests would exempt passengers from a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. It means that travel to Hawaii will become a feasible vacation destination when the scheme starts in August.
Hawaii to accept negative pre-travel COVID tests
Hawaii has been gearing up for the relaunch of its tourism sector as lockdown eases across the majority of the world. Yesterday, June 24th, Hawaii’s Tourism Agency shared the news that travelers wanting to visit the popular destination would be able to do so without a 14-day quarantine. It will accept negative COVID-19 tests from August 1st as proof of health.
Passengers wishing to make the most of the initiative will need to take an FDA-approved Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) test 72 hours before arrival in Hawaii. The test is widely recognized as one of the best methods for detecting COVID-19 early on, since it identifies antigens in the body. Other tests detect the body’s immune response and antibodies.
Upon entry into Hawaii, passengers must present a printed or electronic copy of their pre-test certificate. If the test is negative, the passenger will avoid the 14-day quarantine.
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What about airport testing?
Officials in Hawaii have reinforced that no COVID-19 testing will be conducted at its airports. Instead, passengers must pay for the tests themselves. That said, there will be mandatory temperature checks. Anyone with a temperature of over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or typical symptoms will undergo a second airport check.
These new rules only apply to those traveling from out of the state of Hawaii. Quarantine for interstate travelers was lifted on June 16th, meaning they can move freely within Hawaii.
Now that additional travel restrictions have been lifted for passengers, it is hoped that more people will flock again to the islands. Though the testing does require one to be prepared, it’s a small price to pay to enjoy a sunny vacation. That said, some are still anxious about how successful this process will be at preventing a rise in coronavirus cases.
Is this method safe?
Some worry that relaxing measures for out-of-state tourists will cause a spike in Hawaii’s coronavirus cases. So far, it’s reported 835 cases with 16 new cases emerging on June 24th. The state has been relatively successful at controlling the outbreak within its hospitals, and just 17 of those who tested positive for the virus have died.
Therefore, it’s apparent how important it is to keep the transmission of COVID-19 under control. Speaking about the future for tourism in the area, the Director of the State Department of Health in Hawaii Bruce Anderson said in a statement,
“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 […] 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.”
If protocols can be adhered to, Hawaii will certainly welcome an increase in tourism. On June 24th the islands welcomed just 1,512 visitors and residents. On the same day in 2019, Hawaii received 35,000 travelers.
Would you take a test to fly to Hawaii? Let us know if this new procedure changes your opinion.