Hawaii opens to visitors testing negative for Covid-19


In the Face of increasing pressure from local businesses and even the u.s. department of Justice on the self-mandatory quarantine for 14 days to Hawaii for all the visitors, the governor David Ige has announced a new option that could open up the tourism in the islands for the second half of the year. been.

From 1 August, visitors can avoid the quarantine of 14 days if they undergo a pre-test for the COVID-19 at the latest 72 hours before their departure from home and are negative outcomes to their arrival at the airport of Hawaii.

The new option builds on a similar program in Alaska, which also has a rule of quarantine of 14 days for the visitors – although this state allows the visitors to pass a test COVID-19 before leaving their home or at an airport in Alaska after their landing. If they choose this last alternative, they must be isolated for a few days until the results of the tests come back.

However, Hawaii has decided not to opt for an option of test after the arrival, because she thinks the probable amount of visitors would create enormous bottlenecks at the airports of arrival. The officials said that they had discussed a partnership with the pharmacy chain giant CVS to implement a testing program, but this is not yet finalised. In addition to the pre-test for COVID-19, the visitors will also be subject to screening questions, and a temperature control.

Currently, rates for return trips from August to Hawaii from the bay area cost about $ 250 in basic economy, $ 300 in regular economy – very good business for travel in the summer season deep.

The rule of quarantine of 14 days of the islands was imposed for the first time in march and has been extended several times since then, most recently until 31 July, although it can be again extended to the visitors who have not undergone pre-test. Although it has relatively well managed to maintain the rate of coronavirus in the State, this success has been costly to the economy of Hawaii, which depends largely on tourism. The State currently has about 240,000 unemployed residents in a population of 1.4 million people.

Since the rule came into effect, the air in Hawaii have increased from approximately 30,000 per day to about 1 000, many of whom are residents. For the week ended June 20, the average occupancy rate of hotels (that is to say, the percentage of rooms occupied) for the whole of the country was back up to 44%, but the main island of Oahu, Hawaii, had the occupancy rate is the lowest in the United States with just 13.7 %, according to the firm data hotel STR.

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Hawaii strictly enforces the quarantine of 14 days, requiring visitors to declare their arrival, where they will stay and relying on the operators of hotels and other accommodations for visitors to report to the authorities any violation of the quarantine. The rule has the force of law, with penalties including a fine of up to $ 5,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.

Last week, after the last extension of the rule by Ige, it has been pursued by a group of residents of Kauai and the Big Island who alleged that he had overstepped his authority by extending the mandate of the quarantine beyond the emergency period of 60 days permitted by the law of the State. And this week, the u.s. department of Justice has filed a brief alleging that the prescription of Ige is unconstitutional because it discriminates against foreign residents. The mandatory quarantine of 14 days Hawaii was originally applied to air travel inter-island flights from the mainland, but the mandate quarantine for travel between the islands was closed earlier this month.

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Chris McGinnis is the corresponding travel main SFGATE. You can reach him by e-mail or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t miss an ounce of important news about the travel by subscribing to his weekly updates FREE!

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