HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City and County of Honolulu is joining the state’s efforts to help bring an estimated 800 American Samoa residents back home.

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 The government of American Samoa closed its borders in March of 2020 to keep the territory COVID-free, leaving many residents unable to return home.

Now, the state says repatriation flights will begin to help ensure residents get home safely while preserving the territory’s efforts to keep COVID-19 out.

The process will involve the use of a section of the Waikiki Shell Parking lot on Monsarrat Avenue. The Shell’s parking lot will serve as a temporary waiting area while many await to complete their mandatory pre-flight quarantine at the Waikiki Sands Hotel.

City officials say a section of the parking lot will be off-limits for public use from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 18, Feb. 7 and Feb. 22. The City adds that additional restrictions may be implemented if the need arises, but did not specify what that may entail.

American Samoa residents flying back home as part of the repatriation process are also expected to undergo COVID-19 testing prior to their travels.