Kauai Opts Out of Pre-Travel Testing Program. Will Require Quarantine

Kauai’s Mayor Requested that the island be removed from the Pre-Travel Testing Program that would allow visitors to bypass the 14-day quarantine with proof of negative COVID-19 test. Hawaii Governor David Ige has approved the request.

The mandatory quarantine for all travelers to the island will go into effect on Wednesday, December 2 at 12:01 a.m.

Previously, as was the case across the rest of the state, passengers who submitted proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of arrival could bypass the 14-day quarantine.

Friday’s decision eliminates that provision for all passengers arriving on Kauai.

“The unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases on the mainland and the rise in community spread on Kauai are of significant concern for the Garden Isle,” said Gov. Ige. “We must protect Kauai residents and visitors and ensure that Kauai’s hospitals do not become overwhelmed.”

Businesses say the moratorium will hit hard just as visitors were planning holiday travel.

“Kauai is unable to adequately protect itself by utilizing the Safe Travels program at this time,” said Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami. “Our travel related cases are now leading to community spread across our island.

“I will gladly repeal the moratorium once we have the virus under control again,” Kawakami added.

The Pre-Travel testing program allows travelers who submitted proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival to the islands could bypass the 14-day quarantine.

Residents have expressed mixed feelings regarding mainlanders traveling to the islands since the implementation of the program and the State’s reopening to tourists.

Many islanders have expressed frustration with tourists who have not been cognisent of the safety of residents. This includes not wearing masks when residents are and in spaces it should be enforced, not social distancing and more.

On the other hand, many residents are now expressing equal frustration with this decision. Travelers are not looking to quarantine and as soon as the announcement was made, tourists began canceling plans. Tourism makes up a major percentage of Hawaii’s economy and islanders are hurting from the blow 2020 has dealt.

The holidays typically see one of the largest boosts of tourism and Kauai will miss out on that. However, with the pre-travel testing program, Hawaii has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. What might be considered low numbers on the mainland could easily overwhelm the islands hospitals and resources.

The state’s pre-travel testing program currently remains in place for the rest of the state.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

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