Hawaii Opening For U.S. Summer Travel Season In Doubt, Likely To Be Postponed

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Three weeks ago I wrote about Hawaii and several other U.S. states preparing for the summer travel season and modifying their isolation requirements for arriving visitors but now this seems to be in limbo again.

According to the Lt. Governor of Hawaii it’s more than likely than the Governor will postpone the option to travel to the Islands without quarantine.

Hawaii has originally scheduled their quarantine requirement to stop effective August 1, 2020 provided the traveler can provide a valid negative test taken within 72 hr prior to arrival.

Covid-19 numbers across the U.S. are rising again but given that new lock down rules aren’t really in the cards anymore different states have adopted different measures in the recent weeks/months.

Hawaii which has a quarantine rule for out of state visitors since March announced three weeks ago that effective August 1, 2020 they will no long require this and instead ask for a negative PCR test.

You can find the whole news announcement on the website of Hawaii’s Tourism Authority:

STATEWIDE ORDER BY GOVERNOR DAVID IGE: YOU MUST SELF-QUARANTINE FOR 14 DAYS IF YOU ARRIVED IN HAWAII AFTER MARCH 26, 2020

Mandatory 14-Day Quarantine For All Passengers Arriving From Out-of-State; Beginning August 1, Individuals With Valid Negative Test Up To 72 Hours Prior to Trip Will Be Exempt

JUNE 24 UPDATE: Beginning August 1, travelers to Hawaii who have a valid negative COVID-19 test result up to 72 hours prior to arriving at Hawaii’s airports will not be subject to the 14-day quarantine. The FDA-approved PCR test from a CLIA-certified laboratory must be done prior to arrival. No testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport. Click here to view the press release.

During a press conference Gov. David Ige said, “We are working on an alternative to the 14-day mandatory quarantine that would allow a safe and healthy way for travelers to return to the islands. Today I am announcing that beginning August 1st we will implement a pre-travel testing program for travelers to Hawaii as an alternative to the 14-day mandatory quarantine. Beginning August 1st travelers who have a valid negative COVID-19 test prior to arriving will not be subject to the 14-day mandatory quarantine. The quarantine will remain in place for those who choose to not get a pre-travel test. The health of our community continues to be our primary focus and priority. This multi-layered screening process allows travelers to return and allows us to continue to protect the health and safety of our community.”

Generally speaking this is a good idea because with the quarantine requirement it pretty much means that there will be zero tourism in Hawaii. Nobody will go to a holiday destination to first spend two weeks in indoor isolation, what would be the point of that?

Now this seems to be off the table again according to Hawaii’s Lt. Governor Josh Green.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green says the governor will likely delay the reopening of tourism, which is currently scheduled for August 1. Although the governor has yet to make the announcement.

The county mayors have already expressed that it would be safer to do so. Some experts agree that Hawaii is not ready, but some economists say it’s time for everyone to take personal responsibility regarding COVID safety measures and let tourists return to the islands.

After marathon meetings with the mayors and health officials, Gov. David Ige will likely make the official announcement after the weekend. That’s according to the lieutenant governor, who says the August 1 date will be pushed back.

“The governor has to make this decision. The best approach is to delay so that we’re safer, so we can get control of the virus with a date certain. And then two weeks before that, give an update of where we are right now,” said Green.

This will of course have implications not only for the local hospitality industry but also for many Americans who have planned to spend their summer holidays in Hawaii and have already booked flights leaning on the previously discussed August 1st opening date.

Conclusion

With states and cities all over the country rolling back their lockdown easing measures (including Las Vegas / Nevada) travel might once again become a game of chance.

If you have booked flights to Hawaii I’d check if the airline is offering flexible options to either cancel the trip free of charge or exchange it against a future travel credit. You can of course always gamble and see if the flight will ultimately be cancelled by the airline in which case the carrier has to offer a full refund.

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