WILL HAWAII REQUIRE MANDATORY TESTING FOR VISITORS?
The Hawaiian government has started its first phase of opening, which includes some parks and retail shops for local residents. Many restaurants are still closed for dine-in services as well as salons so there’s still a ways to go and reopening looks a little uncertain, however, many people have asked me if COVID-19 mandatory testing will be required for Hawaiian visitors?
According to Hawaii’s Lieut. Gov. Josh Green, policies are changing and adapting all the time but ideally, here’s what the plan is supposed to look like.
Visitors would be asked to go to a national mainland pharmacy such as CVS or Rite Aid to test just prior to their vacation in Hawaii. The test results would be entered and accessed through a database within domestic customs upon arrival in Hawaii.
If that visitor does not get a test prior to their flight they would be tested at the airport, which could take several hours, something most visitors don’t want to bother with on their Hawaiian vacation. If possible, they may have to go into quarantine for a day until the test results in a negative outcome.
Read More: Hawaii’s plan for the economy
The Hawaiian government is also closely watching the coronavirus rates from the mainland, which, of course, is Hawaii’s largest visitor market. If rates are low, opening tourism shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Whether or not this policy is definite or not remains to be seen. The big question is when tourism will be open as they want testing and a system to be as safe as possible but also not too much of a hassle. They want the logistics of setting up the testing to be easy and put in place quickly. They will continue to monitor the situation and keep locals and tourists updated as much as possible. Right now, the 14-day mandatory quarantine is still in place through June 30 but many officials are already saying is likely that the order will be pushed back to a further date.
Yesterday, May 18, 2020, Governor Ige officially extended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming visitors and residents traveling to Hawaii through June 30, 2020. The inter-island travel quarantine, also 14-days, has been extended as well.
“So my guess is that they wouldn’t be reopening hotels even as we allow inter-island travel. They are waiting for when we would welcome visitors from the mainland as well as international and that’s weeks if not months in the future.”
Right now, flights to Hawaii are still very limited with Delta being the only airline carrier still offering service from Los Angeles Non-Stop to the Big Island and Kona.
The good news is that we have definitely flattened the curve. There have been very few positive cases and to date just 17 deaths, 11 of them being in Honolulu County. They’d like to keep that number as low as possible for as long as possible, but it does come down to a balance between the economy and the safety of residents.
For now, it’s a ‘wait and see’ approach as this is such an unprecedented and unusual time. Because we don’t have a lot to go on we have to make the best moves possible.