If You Want to Visit Hawaii and Skip Quarantine, There Are New Rules You Need to Know

seats at an airport

As Hawaii will soon allow visitors to opt-out of a 2-week quarantine upon arrival, rules for entry are being expanded upon.

Gov. David Ige announced this week that only tests from "trusted partners" — including American Family Care Urgent Care, Carbon Health, CityHealth Urgent Care, Color, CVS Health, Hawaiian Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Quest Diagnostics, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Vault Health, and Walgreens — will be valid.

The testing program, which goes into effect on Oct. 15 for travelers age 5 and older, will allow travelers to bypass Hawaii's mandated 14-day quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The test must be from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory and taken within 72 hours of the visitor's last leg of their trip.

Critics of the plan say that the testing program will not do enough to protect locals from possible cases of COVID-19. By not making the tests mandatory for all — some travelers may still opt for the two-week quarantine — travelers could unintentionally contract the virus.

“They’re going to come here with this false sense of belief that, ‘Hey, I got tested, Hawaii, I’m clean. Here’s my paperwork. Let me enjoy my Hawaiian vacation,’ not knowing that the person in seat B on a five-hour flight gave them the coronavirus,” State Sen. Glenn Wakai told The Associated Press.

When it comes to specific island rules, The Big Island's mayor Harry Kim announced they will be requiring a second COVID-19 test, according to KHON2. The island reportedly has 50,000 tests ready for arriving tourists.

The mayor of Kauai, Derek Kawakami, and the mayor of Maui, Mike Victorino, have also called for additional post-arrival testing — requests that KHON2 reported were both denied by Gov. Ige.

Ahead of Hawaii’s reopening to out-of-state tourists, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, spoke to Hawaiians anxious about the border reopening.

“Let me say something that’s reality. No matter what you do, there are gonna be infected people who slip through the cracks. It’s inevitable,” Fauci said Wednesday during a video call, according to Hawaii News Now. “The critical issue is that since you have such a low level of infection right now, you should be able to handle that.”

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter, on Instagram or at caileyrizzo.com.

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