Hotel industry gears up for lift of trans-Pacific travel restrictions

Coronavirus

Governor David Ige announced the state’s biggest step yet towards reopening the tourism economy, travelers who can prove they are COVID-19 negative through test results may visit Hawaii without a 14-day quarantine starting in August.

Ige said people who do not provide negative test results will have to remain under mandatory quarantine for two weeks.

Ige said, “The quarantine will remain in place for those who choose to not get a pre-travel test, the health of our community continues to be our primary focus and priority.”

This is the type of news the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association President and CEO, Mufi Hannemann, has anticipated for weeks, and he said the industry has been preparing with new best practices.

Hannemann said, “We are ready, we are poised, we are waiting to cooperate with all the stakeholders, from the airports to the airlines.”  

The HLTA’s COVID-19 health and safety standards for hotels and places of lodging were approved by the state’s department of health.

The procedures put extra attention to front desks and lobby areas.

It said floor markings should show guests where to stand in order to maintain social distancing, it also instructs employees to disinfect keys before handing them to a guest.

The procedures encourage hotels to place sneeze guards at all check-in desks, and it also said employers should give workers flexibility with sick days and sick leave.

“We have procedures in place to make sure that our workers will all be protected,” Hannemann said. “Contact with the department of health and their physician will also be part of our ongoing dialogue.”

The guidelines also provide instructions if visitors become sick with COVID-19. The HLTA does not encourage the hotels to ask sick guests to leave, instead, hotels should have accommodations set aside for the purpose of isolating sick guests.

Rodney Nakashima currently works as an assistant head gardener at the Sheraton Waikiki, he has been able to continue working but under uncertainties over job security.

Nakashima said the testing of incoming visitors is a positive move for reopening, but he also wants himself and his co-workers to be regularly tested.

Nakashima said, “It’s great to know they are coming in, being tested but we should be tested as well because we are dealing with people every day.”

The governor said travelers who show symptoms at the airport will be sent to a secondary screening where a COVID-19 test will be given.

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