After months of delays, it looks like Hawaii is to begin pre-travel testing on October 15. Finally. And with that program coming online, visitors can begin making their way back to the islands.
Six months after implementing its travel quarantine rules, Hawaii FINALLY has a plan to begin pre-travel testing on October 15. This means that those traveling to the islands, regardless if they’re visitors or residents, can bypass the mandatory quarantine orders if they meet the pre-travel testing requirements.
There are four different scenarios travelers can fall into when they make their way to Hawaii.
- One: You get tested within 72 hours of arrival and receive your results before arriving. You can travel to Hawaii, fill out the mandatory declaration form, and then enjoy your stay with no restrictions. You are asked, however, to minimize contact with others, which is no different than our “new normal” around the country.
- Two: You get tested within 72 hours of arrival but don’t receive your results before arriving. Upon arrival, you’ll complete the declaration form and quarantine until you receive your results. Once you receive negative results, you’ll submit your results to officials and will be released from quarantine.
- Three: You choose not to get tested before arriving. You’ll need to quarantine for the full 14 days. No exceptions.
- Four: If you test positive, you remain in isolation. If you begin to show symptoms, you’ll need to get tested right away.
At the moment, Hawaii officials say CVS Pharmacy and Kaiser Permanente have agreed to provide tests for those wanting to travel to Hawaii. The tests will likely cost $120 to $140. However, Kaiser is considering making the test free for its members. Other test sites will likely join those two in the future, though discussions are still ongoing. And, yes, they’re required for ALL travelers arriving Hawaii. This includes children of all ages.
Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering why testing isn’t available upon arrival. The short answer is that we don’t have the ability to do that right now. However, it is under consideration. So, expect further announcements in the future. Another future consideration is to require a second test upon or shortly after arrival. But this is contingent on cheap, accurate, quick tests becoming available.
The biggest question I have is how officials plan to monitor those under quarantine. With only about 1,000 arrivals today, quarantine control remains virtually non-existent. So, it’ll only get worse with the more people arrive. I hope there will be a designated facility for quarantine since it wouldn’t make sense to mix infected and virus-free hotel guests. But, this is Hawaii and our officials aren’t the brightest…
The other question I have surrounds testing validity. How the heck are officials going to ensure that tests submitted by visitors are real? That’s something they claim they’re discussing with CVS and Kaiser right now, but we’ll see what ultimately happens.
Inter-Island Travel Quarantine
At the moment, Hawaii remains under an inter-island travel quarantine, which requires anyone traveling from Oahu to any of the other islands to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. However, these rules look like they’ll remain in place until they expire on October 15.
Previously, I reported that Kauai and Mauii Counties were considering resort bubbles. Under this model, guests wouldn’t need to get tested, but they’d be confined to the resort they’re staying at. That means you can’t leave the property, but you can certainly leave your room and enjoy the pools, restaurants, etc.
Well, earlier this week Kauai got approval to launch its resort bubble program. But, with the pretesting program set to begin in the near future, that kind of makes the bubble model less attractive and redundant, no? Well, Mayor Kawakami seems to think so too. He’s now saying that they’ll continue to pursue the program, but will only implement it if we have to lockdown again.
Under the program, guests will need to wear a tracking device. The tracker resembles a rather large watch and will alert authorities if you leave your resort. At that point, you’ll, of course, be arrested.
As for participating resorts, none of the big name ones have made an announcement yet. Thus far, the only one we know of is Hokuala a Timbers Resort.
Hawaii to Begin Pre-Travel Testing on October 15, Final Thoughts
It’s about time we get back to welcoming back visitors. After all, tourism is Hawaii’s third largest economic driver. Can you guess the first two?
While I think our reopening is a good thing, I have ongoing concerns. Again, how are we going to handle those under quarantine? Even worse, how do you ensure those that start showing symptoms get tested? I don’t think that’s even possible. People lie. Just look at what’s going on with our quarantine program now.