With trans-Pacific travel set to resume in just over two weeks, there have been numerous questions about the logistics surrounding the mandatory COVID-19 test for those looking to bypass Hawai'i's mandatory 14-day quarantine. When the October 15 date was originally announced, the State indicated that agreements had been struck with both CVS and Kaiser Permanente to provide testing for travelers. These tests are available to potential travelers for $139.
Hawaiian Airlines also recently announced that it will begin offering pre-travel, drive-up testing for Hawaiian Airlines passengers beginning October 15. An express, same-day test will cost $150 while a standard test that produces results within 36 hours will cost $90. Initially, this service will be offered near the Los Angeles and San Francisco international airports with more locations to be announced soon.
Additionally, United Airlines will be offering Hawai'i-bound passengers a $250 test that will be administered at the airport. This test will produce results in 15 minutes, but will only be offered at San Francisco International Airport for the time being.
On the local front, the entire lodging industry has continued to prepare for the restoration of tourism. In addition to the HLTA Health, Safety, & Security Standards, many hotel properties have adopted either their own standards or that of their national brand. In an effort to keep industry members and prospective travelers abreast of hygiene standards, we have created a continuously updated hub on our website where visitors to the site can find hotel standards all in one place. I encourage you to take a moment to visit the page and see what hotels around the state are doing to prepare.
In recent weeks, our office has fielded questions about a variety of issues including the upcoming re-opening which is slated for October 15. The State Department of Health has compiled a list of frequently asked questions which can be viewed by clicking here.
Additionally, Gov. Ige appeared on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's Spotlight Hawai'i on Facebook Live. Some of his comments are provided below courtesy of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority:
(Asked about possibility of interisland pre-travel testing to bypass interisland quarantine)
“One of the concerns is that we only have limited testing capacity in the state. At normal back in January it was common for us to have 25,000 interisland trips per day and clearly we only have the testing capacity of 5,000. We’re working to expand that, but we have really limited testing capacity and that comes into the equation about interisland pre-travel testing.”
(Asked about the October 15th reopening date)
“Our focus is really on creating a safe way for travelers to come, and the pre-travel testing program and getting a test that is negative prior to coming really does help us improve the numbers who are coming and making sure they are not infected. It will be a limited experience, as you know restaurants are not fully open at this time especially here on O‘ahu and so we want to make sure that our partners are informing those who might be traveling that it’s not the pre-COVID Hawai‘i where we have thousands and thousands of visitors here, and many businesses will still be on reduced schedules, restaurants will not be fully open so it will be a very different experience and we want to make sure that those who choose to come here will understand that and not expect full access to all of the attractions that they would’ve gotten if they came in January of this year.”
(Asked about locals who take a trip to the mainland)
“The pre-travel testing program applies to everyone, whether residents who travel to the mainland and are coming back or it’s a visitor planning a trip. So, if a resident is planning a trip to the mainland if they can make arrangements to get a pre-travel test prior to their return they can avoid the 14-day quarantine.”
(Asked about travelers coming in from other countries)
“For most of the international travelers the U.S. is still on a status that they don’t encourage travel to the United States. As I said before, we’re working with the governments to really treat Hawai‘i separate from the U.S. and there has been a willingness. We are working with our travel partners in Japan, South Korea and New Zealand to really identify the tests, the equivalent tests that they might be able to get in Japan or Korea or New Zealand, making sure they’re equivalent.”
(Asked about testing young children)
“A lot of our partners at this time are not willing to be testing children so families trying to travel on this pre-travel testing program will have a difficult time finding someone who can administer the test. So we are focused on enabling more trans-Pacific travelers to come. It won’t be the ideal situation, it’s not going to be accessible to everyone who wants to travel. We do continue to expand the testing program hoping that the partners would be willing to test children but they’re not willing to do that at this point in time so we’ll work with what we can and continue to expand the program as we continue to move forward.”
Finally, we have also launched a new page on our website highlighting the candidates that we have endorsed for the general election. On this page, you will be able to find links to campaign websites, their completed questionnaires, and a personal video from each candidate. We will continue to update this page as we receive more submissions.
Have a great weekend,
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