Hawaii is one of the most popular destinations that people want to fly to once the Covid-19 pandemic improves, here’s how the island’s are preparing.
Hawaii is currently open to leisure travel from the mainland United States and international countries as well, including Korea, Japan and Canada. All returning residents and incoming visitors must quarantine for 10 days, but travelers can waive that quarantine period with a pre-travel test. Vaccinated travelers may also soon be able to waive the quarantine period without getting a test as well.
Each county in Hawaii, however, can opt out of the pre-travel quarantine, however, and make travelers quarantine even if they have proof of a negative test. As of April all Hawaiian counties decided to allow incoming travelers the opportunity to bypass the 10-day quarantine if they wanted.
“One way to waive the mandatory Hawaii quarantine is by obtaining a pre-travel diagnostic test. Travelers age five or older will need to get a negative test to bypass the quarantine. The best way to schedule a test is by visiting the Trusted Testing and Travel Partners list. This guide mentions the eligible labs, clinics and airlines flyers can cooperate with. Testing companies are partnering with U.S. airlines to offer self-testing and same-day testing,” according to travel journalist Geoff Whitmore.
“Travelers age 18 or older will need to complete the Hawaii Travel and Health Form. This mandatory form collects the traveler’s information, stay location and travel dates.”
Filling out the Hawaii Travel and Health Form will help travelers move past certain delays at the airport. Proactive travelers will be able to get a QR code that airport workers can simply scan to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Trans-Pacific travelers will be required to get their temperature checked at the airport.
For Maui County visitors specifically, they will need to download the AlohaSafe Alert App which will send notifications if travelers and residents test positive or experience potential exposure to the virus. The app itself is free, and also has the ability to coordinate with contact tracing apps from several other states.
“It might be best for travelers to spend their entire visit on one island to avoid potential inter-country travel restrictions. Travelers may need to get a pre-travel test or quarantine for ten days before going to a different island after staying overnight on one island. More details can be found in Section 5 of the 19th emergency proclamation from April 2021,” according to Whitmore.
“Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green mentions the state is developing a vaccine passport. Program specifics are still being finalized, such as who can use the program and the process for showing proof of vaccinations.”
The only issue with vaccine passports in general is authorities don’t know how to ensure that individuals are uploading actual proof of vaccination. Preventing fraud has been the number one concern when it comes to these types of policies. Initial reports suggest that “travelers will take a photo of their paper CDC vaccination card. Next, the traveler enters their vaccine lot number and vaccination dates.
“The state then partners with a software provider like CommonPass or CLEAR to verify the information is correct. Residents and tourists can present the digital card instead of the CDC vaccine certificate to quickly waive the quarantine and minimize security processing times.”
Hawaii is currently allowing each county to decide how much it wants to reopen. Each county has been abiding by a five-tier system that’s divided based on disruption: Tier 1, stay at home (Major disruption), Tier 2 safer at home (moderate disruption), Tier 3 act with care (minor disruption), Tier 4 recovery (minor disruption), and Tier 5 new normal (no disruption).
Kauai County is currently in phase 5 but other remaining counties and cities are remaining at the third phase which requires social distancing, reduced crowd capacities, and a mask mandate. Basically, all travelers hoping to make it to the islands without any of the Covid-19 requirements will have to wait a while longer, but these new innovations in vaccine passports are a major step towards a more normal tomorrow.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.