On Friday, Governor Ige announced in a press release that, beginning on Thursday, travelers from the Philippines and from South Korea's Incheon International Airport will be allowed to bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine period after providing a negative COVID-19 screening from a trusted testing partner. Much like the testing protocols for trans-Pacific travelers, visitors coming from either country will be required to take their test within 72 hours of their departure and upload the results into the Safe Travels platform.
This is welcome news as we continue to move closer and closer to normalcy. I have said from the very beginning that a phased approach to restoring travel would be key in that it would allow Hawai'i to pressure test the pre-arrival testing program as well as the vaccine passport concept. Barring any unforeseen setbacks, I am hopeful that Gov. Ige's latest announcement is just the first of many and that we will soon extend the vaccine exemption option to international travelers as well.
I don't always agree with Dave Shapiro, but his editorial in the Sunday edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser regarding the Legislature's override of Governor Ige's veto of HB 862 was spot on.
Prominent in his analysis was his apt description of the passage of HB 862 as a "money grab passed off as tourism reform". Shapiro echoed many of our arguments including the initial impetus of the TAT when it was first created was for tourism promotion and management as well as defraying the costs associated with the impacts of tourism. He also took umbrage at the manner in which the bill was passed, noting that it was "hastily cobbled in secret at the end of session without public hearings, proper research or consideration of unintended consequences".
Please take a moment to read the editorial in its entirety. While it will be quite some time before we fully understand the ramifications of HB 862, it is clear that our opposition was shared by many in both the community and amongst elected officials throughout the state.
Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Clinics
Over the weekend, the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF) hosted free clinics for local high school football players at Waiakea and Farrington High Schools. More than 400 local athletes turned out for the event that was facilitated by 40 local coaches and featured former NFL players including Michael Bennett, John Estes, Nate Ilaoa, Rich Miano, Leonard Peters, Jesse Sapolu, Isaac Sopoaga, and Ma'a Tanuvasa.
It was a great day for local athletes, many of whom were denied the opportunity to compete last year due to the pandemic. A big mahalo to the PFHOF, Mayor Mitch Roth and his administration, Waiakea and Farrington High School principals Kelcy Koga and Al Carganilla, Hawaii Speed & Quickness, and our partners at HTA for helping to make these clinics such a success.
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