Those eager to make it to Hawaii this winter can breathe a sigh of relief. Governor David Ige announced yesterday that starting October 15, travelers from out of state won’t be required to quarantine as long as they present a negative test result for COVID-19, from a test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Initially, Hawaii had planned a pre-travel testing program for August 1, but that was postponed as COVID-19 cases spiked in the US and Hawaii. Then a testing supply shortage caused further delays.
The test requested from travelers must be a nasal swab FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), and the results must come from a CLIA certified laboratory.
In addition to the new lifting of quarantine rules, Ige also recently authorized a “resort bubble” program for the island of Kauai, enabling quarantined visitors to certain resort properties to leave their room and use the resort’s restaurant and pool facilities.
“We understand the need to address the economic hardship facing our tourism-based community, while also preserving the safety of our residents,” Kauai Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami said in a statement. “The resort bubble program is an added tool to reopening our economy while we learn to co-exist with this virus. It’s not a replacement or the final solution, and we will continue to keep our community updated as we make progress.”
Since tourism to the state has declined more than 90 percent since the start of the pandemic, officials are hopeful that the new tourism rules will encourage travelers to visit.