By: D. Kennedy
Beginning Oct. 15, travelers can avoid quarantine in Hawaii if they show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of flying.
Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green stressed the importance of getting the FDA authorized Nucleic Acid Amplification test from a certified CLIA lab. CVS, Walgreens, and West Coast-based Kaiser Permanente are a few of the clinics that administer the NAAT test. The rapid Abbott ID NOW test offered at airports gets results within 15 minutes, priced at $135. The self-administered home tests which are mailed to a lab before their trip typically take within 48 hours.
Hawaiian, Alaska, United, and American are four airlines that have also announced plans to offer quick coronavirus testing for travelers flying to major cities. The major cities include San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, and Chicago. However, United Airlines also offers rapid COVID-19 tests for customers traveling to Hawaii from the San Francisco Airport.
“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and US airports later this year,” Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United, said in a statement.
Green also explains that if you don’t have your test results by the time you arrive in Hawaii, you’ll have to quarantine until you receive them. Results will then be reported to the Hawaii Department of Health before being cleared by the hotel. The Lieutenant acknowledges the risks but said the plan will give the islands a much-needed chance for economic recovery.
Before the pandemic, the state received about 30,000 visitors a day. Now, hotels have been at 19% occupancy. With the tourists numbers down, hotels are offering great package deals, flexible booking, waived cancellation fees, complimentary room upgrades, and a resort credit of $100-300 per night.
“It’s important that people know we welcome them as long as they’ve gotten their test,” Green said, adding that wearing a mask in public is still Hawaii law.
As long as our tourists are able to board their flights to paradise, we’re good.