Nearly 700 passengers were screened through the state’s pre-travel testing coronavirus program at Līhu‘e Airport, which launched on Thursday.
Thursday was the first time trans-Pacific travelers were welcomed back to the state in mass since the COVID-19 outbreak in March, which eliminated nearly all travel and crippled Hawai‘i’s economy.
From Kaua‘i County’s perspective, officials stated Friday, that things went about as expected.
“Many incoming passengers did not yet complete their Safe Travels digital form, as required, and majority of them did not have their test uploaded, which required screeners to manually review hard copy versions of the test upon arrival,” stated a the Kaua‘i County spokesperson.
Additionally, there were multiple flights arrive at the same time, which resulted in long lines of people within the airport, “which is not ideal as it’s a relatively small indoor area.”
“Despite this, travelers were in good spirits and seemed to understand and expect these inconveniences as a result of traveling during a pandemic,” the spokesperson stated. “We believe additional messaging to help travelers understand the requirements will assist in streamlining the screening process upon arrival.”
According to Hawai‘i Tourism Authority on Friday, a total of 8,219 people arrived in Hawai‘i from out of state after the Safe Travels Hawai‘i program launched. The program gives travelers an option of taking a COVID-19 test, and if given a negative result, allows them to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The bulk of the passengers, or 3,189 people, indicated they came to Hawai‘i for vacation. There were also 1,287 people who indicated they were returning residents. The trans-pacific passenger arrival data is derived from data provided by Safe Travels.