HONOLULU (KHON2) — Japan is being added to the state’s pre-travel testing program. It is another big step forward in reviving the economy and getting people back to work. But after ongoing issues with the state’s safe travels app, is the state ready to take on more visitors?
The governor says All Nippon Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Japan Airlines will have planes from Japan touching down as early as Nov. 6, and we can expect to see a total of 10 fights to Hawaii next month.
“I’m sending a new message, please feel free to safely visit our islands. We are ready and delighted to welcome you back,” said Governor David Ige.
The tone is much different from back then when the state implemented the mandatory 14-day quarantine in March. Officials say it’s safe to come to Hawaii now with a positivity rate of 2.2% in the last seven days.
“So this climate has made it possible for us to resume these processes,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
Green says since mainland tourism reopened, about 10,000 people went into quarantine, and there have been some issues. Some travelers we spoke with got a negative COVID test but were forced to quarantine because they are not able to upload their results to the state’s Safe Travels App. Green says there are about 700 to 800 still in the process of getting finalized.
“We’ve been dropping that number down daily,” said Green. “We’d love it to be a turnover within an hour, but it’s a pretty complicated process with this many partners and this many travelers coming to Hawaii.”
We wanted to know if the state is ready to add on more travelers from Japan. We are told thousands have been getting through the program without having to quarantine.
“You can see that eight out of nine people have been able to navigate the process and our partnership with Japan will be very successful,” said Lt. Gov. Green.
“It’s not going to be an avalanche of customers. We know that it’s about reestablishing trust, relationships,” said Gov. Ige.
On top of that, the state says Japanese nationals traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return home. Also, travel restrictions on U.S. travel to Japan remain in place.