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Impossible to avoid Hawaii quarantine for many visitors

Impossible to avoid Hawaii quarantine for many visitors
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Tourism to Hawaii opened on October 15. One month into this program, potential tourists are thinking again about a Hawaii vacation. This is becoming an essential task for the many closed and empty hotels and restaurants in the State of Hawaii. The tourism industry is bleeding so bad that Mufi Hanneman, CEO of the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association, is hiding and never responds anymore.

Encouraging, however, is that residents are considering traveling again, and people on the US mainland consider a trip to Hawaii once more. This confidence in travel was made possible due to Hawaii appointing trusted travel and testing partners on the US mainland and Japan to get a COVID-19 test within 3 days of arrival.

If one doesn’t have a test from any of the approved and trusted testing partners it would mean 2 weeks of quarantine in a hotel room or residence. The important factor here is that it must be from a trusted testing partner.

Returning residents are under the same rule. Finding a trusted partner with available appointments for the test in a state like California seems to be almost impossible. With COVID-19 spreading like a wildfire in California and many places on the US mainland, these resources are either overwhelmed or shifted to more important functions to fight the pandemic.

No appointments are available anywhere within 3 days. Phone information at CVS pharmacies in California or at Walgreens are not answering. Phone systems are putting a caller on hold for 6 hours and more only to get a “not possible.”

Airlines had announced instant testing at San Francisco Airport. When calling United as a top tier 1K customer there was only a frustrating response that testing centers are overwhelmed and a test could not be guaranteed.

eTurboNews today asked Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell about this testing dilemma. The Mayor said he would push to have the new Honolulu testing laboratory accept also incoming passengers, but this means a change in the emergency rules. Many instant testing facilitates in the state, however, are not approved to issue a certificates for returning residents or visitors.

The Mayor said: “With the US mainland overwhelmed, this is becoming an important issue to suggest. I am supporting such a short-term solution. It may still mean a 4-day quarantine for arriving tourists that were unable to get the test within the 3 days of arrival. Four days’ quarantine are nothing compared to full two weeks.”

On Saturday, the Office of Gov. David Ige announced 13 additional trusted travel and testing partners for the state’s pre-travel testing program. COVID-19 test results from these newly-identified partners will be accepted beginning tomorrow.

The new partners – eleven for domestic transpacific travel and two for inter-county travel – join 18 and 11 partners respectively that had been previously approved by the State of Hawaii for testing, which allows arriving travelers to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine with evidence of a negative test from a trusted partner, conducted no more than 72-hours prior to the final leg of departure.

Partners were selected based on their ability to administer the test and expand the testing network, with the goal of making it easier to safely travel to Hawaii.

In the future, trusted testing and travel partners added to the Safe Travels Hawaii program will be uploaded to www.hawaiicovid19.com. This website also includes more information on inter-county pre-travel testing and the Safe Travels Hawaii program.