U.S. Rep. Ed Case wants stricter pre-boarding requirements for travelers to Hawaii to make sure no new coronavirus cases manage to fly into the state.
Case sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday asking the agency to allow the state to impose those restrictions, such as testing all passengers and crew boarding flights to the islands.
The FAA is still reviewing the letter, an agency spokesman said.
Case says in the letter that previous guidance from the agency suggests that current rules don’t allow states to impose such restrictions. Gov. David Ige has said that the FAA also does not allow the state to discriminate against who can get on a plane.
Case is asking the FAA to lift those rules.
“I ask that you do so on an emergency basis considering the continued public health threat to Hawaii from our inability to impose and enforce effective mitigation requirements,” Case said in the letter. “But I also ask that you do so because these questions will have to be answered and the necessary changes will have to be made for Hawaii to reopen to any great extent to air travel.”
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said at an afternoon press conference that COVID-19 cases are expected to jump once tourism resumes. He also suggested that the state could encourage travelers to get tested before getting on a plane.
“We want as many mitigating factors in our arsenal as we can,” Green said.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell