Hawaii to welcome Canadians without quarantine restrictions starting September 1

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A winter getaway may not be a priority during a global pandemic, but the island state of Hawaii says Canadians will be greeted without quarantine measures starting September 1, 2020.Hawaii imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travelers at the start of the pandemic, but the state Department of Transportation says it will soon be open to “all trans-Pacific travelers.”

“Travelers arriving to Hawaii from out of state will have the option to take a valid COVID-19 test prior to arrival and show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine », We read in a press release from the Ministry of Transport.

The test must be taken within 72 hours of boarding a flight to Hawaii.

“It will make a lot of Canadians happy,” said Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer in Blaine, Washington.

Canadian airlines will resume non-stop flights from Vancouver to Hawaii starting in September. (Westjet.com)

Without proof of a negative test result, passengers will be subject to quarantine, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Unrestricted air travel

The land borders between the United States and Canada have been closed to non-essential travel since March 21, but air travel has not been restricted for Canadians traveling to the United States.

“A lot of Canadians don’t know they are allowed to travel by air to the United States,” said Ricky Zhang, Montreal travel specialist.

“This loophole has remained,” Saunders said. “I don’t think you’re going to see this change. “

Airlines resume their flights

Meanwhile, Canadian airlines are preparing to reopen routes to Hawaii. Westjet is expected to resume non-stop flights from Vancouver to Hawaiian destinations on September 5, and Air Canada will follow suit on September 8.

According to the state Department of Health, Hawaii, with a total population of 1.4 million people, has so far recorded 2,111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 through July 31, with 26 deaths.

It is the only state in the United States to have a mandatory quarantine in place at the start of the pandemic. Saunders says quarantines were voluntary in all other states.

The lifting of Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine requirement was slated for August, but Gov. David Ige has delayed due to an increase in confirmed cases on the mainland.

The process for finalizing entry conditions will be determined “in the coming weeks,” according to the Ministry of Transport.

“The date of September 1 is still tentative and subject to evaluation,” Zhang said.

“It is a risk that they are taking and that Canadians are taking if they choose to go to Hawaii,” he added.

Travel insurance returns

However, at least one Canadian insurer has restored medical coverage against COVID-19.

“We understand that our customers have concerns about medical insurance coverage for COVID-19,” says the travel insurance website Medipac, which sells travel medical insurance to the Canadian Snowbird Association and to the Royal Canadian Legion.

The company’s website says “travel insurance for early birds is now available and includes coverage for COVID-19,” while adding that pre-existing condition clauses and other terms and conditions will continue to apply. apply.

Zhang said Canadians could also consider purchasing travel insurance from U.S. providers.

Pre-test in Canada

“This whole pre-test stuff is something the Canadian government might want to consider,” Saunders said. “Because if it works well in Hawaii – with its huge tourism base – why can’t it work for Canada? ”

The BC Center for Disease Control suggests that people with colds, the flu, or even mild COVID-19-like symptoms should be tested, but its website also says “anyone can get tested.”

Canadians returning from Hawaii will still be subject to mandatory self-isolation upon return.

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