Hawaii to start pre-travel testing program October 15, 2020

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In a press conference on September 16, Hawaii’s Gov. Ige announced that the pre-travel testing program will begin October 15, 2020. The pre-travel testing program will allow trans-Pacific visitors to be exempt from the 14-day quarantine by providing a negative COVID-19 test result within 72-hours of travel.

Limited details of the pre-travel testing program were discussed in the press conference. More information will be forthcoming. The details of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program that were mentioned in the press conference were:

  • Hawaii has agreements in place with CVS and Kaiser Permanente to provide testing for travelers to Hawaii. Additional testing parters will be announced in the coming weeks. Walgreens was a potential partner that was mentioned.
  • Visitors will be responsible for the costs of the tests. The estimated test cost is $140 per person.
  • At this time, the acceptable test is to be a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) conducted in a certified CLIA laboratory. The lieutenant governor mentioned that as other, reliable tests become available, they may be used in the future.
  • In the press conference, the exact timeframe of the 72-hour window of testing was a bit unclear. The governor said tests are to be taken within 72 hours “prior to arrival”, while Lt. Gov. Green indicated that the test will need to be taken no more than 72 hours “before travel.” This will be a key piece of information that will need to be better defined. *Update: per the 13th supplement emergency proclamation signed on September 23, 2020, the 72-hour period  is “within 72 hours from the final leg of departure.”
  • The governor stated that part of the agreements with the testing partners, such as CVS and Kaiser, is for the partners to commit to returning the result within the 72 hours so that visitors will be able to get the result in time before they depart.
  • If test results are not available at the time of arrival in Hawaii, travelers will have to remain in quarantine until they get their test result. A process will be in place to verify results to release those persons from quarantine provided they receive a negative result.
  • All arriving passengers will be subject to the pre-travel testing program — including children of all ages.
  • No commercial testing will be provided in Hawaii airports at the present time.

After the press conference, we noticed that the HawaiiCovid19.com/travel/ page was updated with several questions and answers about the new program. So, be sure and check those out.

The governor provided the following flowchart  to illustrate the scenarios and steps.

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Again, we expect Hawaii officials to release more details in the coming days. You can check HawaiiCovid19.com/travel/ as well.

To keep up to date, be sure and subscribe to our free newsletter for ongoing updates.

19 comments
  1. Fantastic!
    I’m down for this. I see the bubble concept must just be for travelers who don’t pre-test. This I’m totally down for. in fact it’s smart. So many tourists coming together in one are the pre-test only makes sense.

  2. I am a frequent traveler to Hawaii to vacation and spend time with friends and extended ohana, so this is great news and I would continue traveling to Hawaii again. After reading the above, I immediately began checking flights, rental cars and condo rentals.
    However, I later read that Hawaii may consider an additional test called a “pcr test” upon arrival. I would not travel 12 hours , after I was cleared by a pre departure, test and paid for my trip to be retested and face quarantine after arrival. If that test becomes a requirement I would not travel there and face the possibility of losing a substantial amount of money.

    1. Hmmm, well, I watched yesterday’s press conference and while there was some mention about hypothetical testing upon arrival in the future, a second test is not part of this initial plan. To me, it sounded like if there’s some easy and fast test that’s reliable that comes available, they may look to add that extra layer of testing in the future, but that may be a ways off, if at all. I’ve linked to the press conference in the article. So feel free to watch it yourself to see if you gather any different information.

      1. I watched the same and was VERY happy, but a little while ago I read about the other test on the Hawaii News Now site..The title of the article is: “Experts: New testing methods could speed up Tourism’s reopening” .
        I hope that I am somehow misinterpreting it because I want to resume travel to the Islands soon and, IF I read it correctly, this would not be acceptable for me. I’m not criticizing it, but it’s not something that “I” would chance after planning and spending so much money.
        Thanks for all the work that you do in keeping us informed. I LOVE your site.

        1. I understand.

          There’s been so much speculation about reopening that it’s hard to know what may or may not happen. For example, we heard that a travel bubble/corridor with Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia would be the first part of tourism opening. That hasn’t panned out.

          We’re only a month away from implementation of this pre-travel testing plan. A month is a long time, it seems, in this “covid-age” and things may change.

          Thank you for the kind words about our site. Our work here is mostly thankless, so when someone as kind says thanks, it means a lot!! 🙂

          1. Thank you so much for all the information on the pre-travel testing program. I am happy to hear this, as my husband and I had to postpone our first ever trip to Maui in August. We want to reschedule ASAP, but I want to be sure that the beaches, parks, etc. will be open also. I don’t want to come to Hawaii, and not be able to go out and explore the island!

          2. At the present time, there are limitations for beach access, parks, etc on Oahu and the Big Island, but they are both due to be lifted by the end of the month.

            National parks are mostly open.

            It’s hard to know exactly what attractions will and won’t be open. We’re seeing some say they’ll open in mid-October…others are waiting until November and beyond.

            If you want maximum availability of attractions and amenities, our *guess* is that it might be best to wait for Christmas and later. Again, that’s just a guess.

    1. CORRECTION: per the FAQ’s page that we reference in the article:
      https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/#travel-FAQs

      “What if I rented a short-term rental and do not get my test results back by the time I arrive in Hawai‘i? Can I still quarantine in the short-term rental or do I have to rent a hotel room instead until I get my results back?

      You must quarantine in a hotel room.”

  3. I am terrible computer stuff and can’t seem to make a link here, so…

    In today’s newspaper (Sunday, Sept 20) the Kokua Line column is devoted to the pre-arrival testing issue. Please check it out at http://www.staradvertiser.com. The columnist is Christine Donnelly and it can be found in the Local/Business section.

    As a Hawaii resident, I would like to caution travelers about coming here as soon as we open. A lot of attractions/stores/restaurants etc. are closed and it will take time to get up and running. Just because our gov’t says tourism will be open on a certain date doesn’t mean everything will be back to normal, or that it will even happen on time (as you all know!). Currently we are in our second lockdown and still struggling with a virus surge. There are a lot of restrictions. I second what Sheila said above about postponing your trip if you want maximum vacation value.

  4. I was in telephonic contact with CVS to inquire about the Covid19 test for Hawaii. The rep was aware of the testing for Hawaii travel and explained the procedures and time frame for making an appointment for scheduling the test as well as the timing to get the result.
    Although the test results should come within 48 hours, it is possible for them to be delayed for a few days depending on volume, which CVS can explain if someone is interested in this.
    I also was in contact with a condo rental company in Hawaii who advised me that if I had to wait in quarantine for a result of my tests it would have to be in a hotel and not that condo.
    Personally, I am not going to travel to Hawaii under these conditions. I was hoping to be assured that I would have the test results in my hands before leaving , knowing I am negative with NO possibility of quarantine upon arrival.
    If I was positive with the virus I want to know before I leave my house so as not to contaminate other travelers, or residents of Hawaii, and don’t want to be quarantined in Hawaii for 14 days when , if positive, I could have quarantines at home for free.

    1. I was surprised that the quarantine must take place in a hotel as the original order allowed people to quarantine in any place of lodging. But, per the FAQs, it does indeed say hotel.

  5. Front page headline of today’s (9/21) StarAdvertiser: “Details Vague On Reopening”

    Please go to the website and read the article. Folks, be very, very careful making plans to come to Hawaii in the near future. I hate the thought of people losing money and/or having a terrible experience here due to our babooze state government!

    1. MahinaB.. I just read the article in the Staradvertiser ..Very interesting..Thank you for your concern.
      I have a number of concerns so I will wait until I am comfortable with all aspects of booking a Hawaii trip. I have cancelled and received full refunds for 3 trips to Hawaii because of the virus as well as my discomfort with proposals by the Hawaiian State government.
      It would seem to me that Hawaii would like to encourage businesses to plan meetings, and destination weddings to be planned there. The thought of delays due to quarantine will surely deter many from planning such events, and look to other beautiful locations where there is no testing, or quarantines.
      I follow this site, as well as Hawaii news everyday in hopes of learning more about the rules for travel. I would love to return to Hawaii soon, but so far, based on what I have read, that won’t happen. I have researched and found 2 other locations to vacation later this year and next year where no tests are required and there is no quarantines.

  6. if you are a resident in Kuai and flying into Honolulu and then Kuai, can you do this?..would have liked to stay a night in Honolulu since flight from Europe arrives too late to take a plane to Kuai that night?

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