HONOLULU (KHON2) — After weeks of anticipation, the pre-travel testing program launched Thursday, Oct. 15 in what the state has long described as the first step toward re-opening Hawaii’s tourism.
The first trans-Pacific flight carrying 123 passengers arrived at Honolulu’s airport around 10:35 a.m.
Governor Ige and Lt. Governor Josh Green spent the day at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) talking with arriving travelers and witnessing the entire screening process in real time.
“It’s been a touching today. This young man, a young missionary, who just finished his mission, just saw his mother for the first time in months. These are the personal stories that are occurring today.”
Lt. Governor Green noted that he expects some turbulence over the first few weeks of the program, but is optimistic that the measures in place will successfully reduce the chances of another COVID-19 outbreak in the state.
In the Thursday news conference, Governor Ige shared more about the screening procedure for those arriving to the state.
The Governor said a significant part of the process will be the temperature checks. Upon arrival, all passengers will have their temperature checked to catch any traveler who may have a fever, one of the symptoms of COVID-19.
The program also requires HNL to have four lines in which travelers are be able to either show proof of a negative test or provide information on where they will be quarantined.
State officials say travelers will be expected to upload their negative test result to the the Safe Travels website 24-hours before departure to get their QR code. Passengers who are not able to show a QR code upon arrival but have a negative test result on hand will be put into one line.
Another line will be for passengers who have not taken a COVID-19 test and those who have opted to quarantine instead.
The third line is for those who are still waiting for their test results, and the fourth for exempt travelers like flight crew and military, said Gov. Ige.
Green also shared that some travelers who arrived on the first day of the program were not aware that a quarantine mandate was still in effect.
“We do expect some people to only read part of the instructions,” Lt. Gov. Green said. “Some people will think they need to get any test at all. That’s not approved.”
The state announce that COVID-19 tests would only be accepted if administered by one of Hawaii’s 17 trusted partners. Gov. Ige shared those partners in a tweet on Oct. 7.
“There will be a little turbulence, but were doing it safely because we believe in welcoming people.” added the Lt. Governor.
To find out more about the pre-travel testing program, click here.
For the Safe Travels website, click here.