Hawaii previously announced a pre-travel test and quarantine-free reopening on October 15, raising the hopes of travelers, but earlier this week, it was reported that the Big Island opted out of the scheme citing lack of confidence in test results.
Now, however, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim explains that his statements were misinterpreted and that travelers will be allowed to visit the Big Island as long as they provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival and take another one upon arrival.
According to Kim he never intended to opt out of the program at all.
“I’m getting blasted with calls and misinterpretations that I had chosen to opt-out of that program,” Mayor Kim revealed. “I never did say that I choose to get out of the one-test only as non-acceptable risk. What I am presenting is a two-test system.”
The Big Island has 50,000 tests on hand so enough tourists can be tested, and for free. With the exception of the additional required test upon arrival, the Big Island is adhering to Hawaii’s broader “Safe Travels” program for resuming tourism.
Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino and Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami also wanted to implement testing on arrival, but they were denied by the Hawaii governor.
Under the program, visitors will be given the opportunity to take a pre-travel COVID-19 test (no more than 72 hours prior to departure) to avoid the 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the state.
A version of this article was previously published on October 7, 2020, and was updated on October 9, 2020, with more information.