Published on : Saturday, October 17, 2020
Hawaii offered an alternative to its compulsory quarantine for out-of-state travel yesterday, after strict guidelines laid down for restricting corona virus since March.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a 14th supplementary emergency proclamation on Tuesday, thereby extending the COVID-related emergency period through Nov. 30. He also initiated new rules for travel to the state – allowing travelers to evade the 14-day quarantine period by producing a negative test starting Oct. 15.
The two-week quarantine protocol has been in force since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped air travel indefinitely, delivering a blow to the tourist-centric economy. Hawaii witnessed low numbers of confirmed cases between enforcement of quarantine and the beginning of summer.
Although the new testing protocol was first announced in June, spikes in cases throughout the summer created delay in implementation of the same.
Since February, Hawaii lost 53% of its travel and leisure jobs. With 19.3% employed in the tourism industry, Hawaii was affected harder than any other state. The state is expected to lose 19.6% of general fund tax revenue due to decline in tourism activities.
The Aloha State’s economy is largely based on tourism – with 1 in 5 jobs related to the leisure/hospitality sector – and the state has witnessed almost 100,000 job losses.
Hawaii government officials are aiming to implement this latest testing policy for reviving its economy. The testing policy requires that a traveler be tested from one of the state-approved testing facilities within 72 hours of travel.
Besides test requirement for traveling to the state, each island and county has its own limitations and protocols. For example, the islands of Kauai and Maui require a second COVID-19 test days after arrival. And on the Big Island, travelers must also go through a rapid test upon arrival.
Travelers must also register with the Safe Travels Hawaii program before embarking on their trip, completing a mandatory health form.