Hawaii’s plan to allow incoming travelers to bypass its mandatory 14-day quarantine if they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result will include a new component: County officials can design their own pre-travel testing program for interisland travelers.
Mayors did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
The latest emergency proclamation issued by Gov. David Ige Wednesday evening outlined some basic parameters for the pre-travel testing program: Everyone, residents and tourists alike, who wish to skip the two-week quarantine requirement must show written proof they had a negative test result from “a test administered to the traveler within 72 hours from the final leg of departure,” according to the proclamation.
The door is opening to an interisland quarantine bypass, but officials have offered no details yet.
A spokesperson with the governor’s office said county officials who decide to pursue a quarantine exemption process need to develop it with the state.
A pre-travel test program was first proposed in July. As Oahu dealt with a surge in coronavirus cases, plans for the program were pushed off multiple times.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who has been spearheading the program, said the county mayors will decide whether to lift the interisland quarantine for their county, keep it in place or allow travelers to bypass it with a qualifying negative COVID-19 test. The governor will need to sign off on these plans.
Until the mayors solidify plans for their counties, Green said it’s probably best if trans-Pacific travelers who plan to use the pre-travel testing program to avoid the 14-day quarantine select one island to visit during their Hawaii trip. Otherwise, they may need to quarantine after they fly to their second destination.
“For now, if you’re going to travel here, it’s better to pick your resort and your island and probably experience that rather than worrying about going to the airport again,” Green said.
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