Yesterday, the State of Hawaii announced adjustments to its pandemic travel control measures. One of these changes halves the mandatory quarantine period. Plus, Hawaii Safe Travels eliminates its pesky questionnaire, easing the pre-departure process.
As I’ve said before, the Hawaii Safe Travels program isn’t a challenging program to use. What it is, however, is unnecessarily clunky and complicated. Part of that complication is completing a pre-travel questionnaire that must be done BEFORE you receive your QR code. That’s no problem for most of us. But, for those without smartphones and older travelers? It can be confusing and further complicate travel logistics. Ask me how I know. But, thankfully, that’s coming to an end now.
Hawaii Safe Travels Eliminates Pesky Questionnaire
For those of you that haven’t experienced the joys of Hawaii Safe Travels yet, the questionnaire I’m talking about is one you get on your day of departure. It’s short – only four questions – and is relatively easy. The problem is, unless you know to look for it on the Safe Travels website, you rely on an email to know when to take it. And if that email doesn’t get to you (or ends up in junk), things can get quite frustrating – especially since you need that QR code to bypass quarantine on arrival AND to get your Hawaii PreClear band though that’s not always the case either.
At any rate, the questionnaire really didn’t do anything meaningful because it was a self-reported health screening questionnaire. If someone wanted to lie, they easily could’ve. Who’s actually going to verify that you don’t have a fever? Besides, many COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic anyway. So, while I’m supportive of Hawaii Safe Travels, I never thought this questionnaire made any sense.
Shortened Quarantine Period
Of course, the other significant change announced yesterday was the halving of the mandatory quarantine period. So, effective immediately, unvaccinated and untested travelers need only quarantine for five days on arrival. What’s more, if you’re already quarantining and have already passed five days, you’re automatically released from quarantine.
Of course, there are caveats to this. For example, if you’re symptomatic, you must quarantine and remain so unless you either test negative or no longer have symptoms. If you wait till the conclusion of symptoms without testing, you must wear a mask for five days after your symptoms end.
Basically, this new rule is in line with the CDC’s new quarantine guidelines. So, when in doubt, refer to the CDC.
While I think the elimination of the questionnaire makes sense, I’m not a fan of the changes to the mandatory quarantine period. Enough doctors voiced their concerns regarding the change at the CDC level, while state officials aren’t going to require a third dose to be considered fully vaccinated under Hawaii Safe Travels. That’s despite the science saying that the two-dose mRNA vaccines and 1-dose viral vector vaccines provide virtually no protection against symptomatic infection from Omicron. But, hey, our politicians have to bend to pressure from the travel industry saying requiring a third dose would be dire for the industry.