With transpacific travel set to reopen on October 15th, Governor David Ige says Hawaii is ready to welcome tourists back to the islands. Travelers who have a documented negative COVID-19 test, administered 72 hours before arrival, will be able to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.
“We do believe that we won’t see a big initial surge in the visitors who come here, but we hope that we can slowly revive our community by bringing transpacific visitors back to our islands,” Ige told Spotlight Hawaii in a live interview this morning.
Travelers who fly directly to the neighbor islands will also be able to bypass quarantine, but once those visitors leave the airport, they would have to quarantine if they chose to travel to other islands within the state.
“If you are flying directly to Oahu, spend a day or so here, then that doesn’t translate. You could come to Oahu and not be subject to quarantine, but if you then take an inter island flight you would be subject to quarantine again,” Ige explained.
The Governor said he is meeting with the county mayors today and will have an update on the inter island plans later this week. As it stands now, travelers from Oahu must quarantine if they visitor a neighbor island, but those traveling from the neighbor islands to Oahu do not.
“I have been working with the mayors to identify you know, what the health metrics would be so that we can drop the inter island quarantine. I do know, and when I talk with residents, especially on the neighbor islands, they continue to be concerned because of the number of virus cases they see on Oahu,” Ige said.
The Governor also spoke about the new call center to handle unemployment claims, and the state’s Hawaii Restaurant Card program. Residents who qualify will be receiving $500 pre-loaded debit cards in the mail to use at Hawaii restaurants. The program is intended to help residents who have lost their jobs, while also giving a boost to local restaurants.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.