The Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i supports the effort to reopen Trans-Pacific travel beginning Aug. 1 after months of mandated quarantine orders were put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19.
During a press conference Wednesday, Gov. David Ige announced the state’s plan to begin a pre-travel testing program for visitors. The test must be administered prior to their arrival to show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine.
No testing will occur at Hawai‘i’s airports, but temperature checks and screenings will continue. Anyone who doesn’t take a pre-travel test will be subject to the 14-day quarantine.
“The health of our community remains our primary focus. This multi-layered pre-travel testing and screening process allows travelers an alternative to the 14-day travel quarantine in a way that protects the health and safety of our kama‘āina and visitors,” Ige said. “Now is the time to work together to ensure that our local businesses can safely re-open to incoming travelers.”
Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i President & CEO said, the chamber applauds state and county leaders for the announcement to establish a protocol to welcome back visitors safely.
“We look forward to reviewing details of the Governor’s plan and will continue to advocate for our local small businesses,” Menor-McNamara said. “We have been advocating for safe, decisive and swift action, and this decision will help to restore our economy and keep Hawai‘i businesses open. Now, it’s up to all of us to stop the spread of COVID-19 and be accountable with safe practices to ensure that we can continue toward this next phase of reopening.”
On Monday, the Chamber delivered a petition to Governor Ige calling for a definitive plan to reopen our economy to trans-Pacific travelers. This petition follows an April effort that led to over 1,000 supporters calling for economic assistance and other actions for businesses. The Chamber wrote to Ige on March 20 to call for several actions, including expedited expansion of testing and testing sites, loan forgiveness programs and pausing any government debt payments, and on March 25 to urge him to suspend GET and tax collection.
Protocols for the program are still in the works. However, officials at the press conference say they are looking at requiring a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before boarding a flight to Hawai‘i. Additionally, they are working with CVS Pharmacy to find the best way to collect those tests.