Hawaii’s newly implemented pre-travel testing program is working, but has issues

It’s been almost a week since the October 15th start of the new pre-travel testing program. The system is working, but not without some issues. Per an estimate provided to Hawaii News Now, the Safe Travels application has gone smoothly for about 80% of travelers.

Here are some updates on the pre-travel testing program and how it’s working:

– The data through the first five days of the Safe Travels program reveals that 45,410 people were screened. Of those 38,063 were exempted from quarantine and 6,474 were quarantined. Some of those 6,474 would-be travelers who did not receive their test results prior to arrival and have had to quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

– Some travelers have had issues uploading their test results into the Safe Travels application which has resulted in a lot of frustration as described by this KHON story. One piece of advice from that story is to upload the PDF form into the Safe Travels account. A screenshot of the results is not sufficient and triggers a manual review.

– On Hawaii (Big) Island they’ve implemented a second rapid test upon arrival, per Lt. Gov. Green’s update yesterday, over 3,000 pre-tested people have been screened and none of them ended up being confirmed positive.

– Some travelers have not been getting their pre-travel tests from a trusted partner. The State of Hawaii will accept test results ONLY from TRUSTED TESTING AND TRAVEL PARTNERS.

– KITV’s Annalisa Burgos provides her first-hand experience participating in the new Safe Travels program as she traveled from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

– Gov. Ige announced the approved testing partners in Hawaii for inter-island pre-travel testing.

– Hawaii (Big) Island County will be joining Kauai and Maui counties to allow inter-island quarantine exemptions for travelers who pre-test up to 72 hours before departure. They’re also offering an option to test upon arrival, then quarantine until a negative result is received. Read more about this news from West Hawaii Today.

– How welcome are travelers? At least two Kauai eateries are asking that travelers not dine with them per this KHON story. This Star Advertiser article shares some of the conflicted feelings residents have about travelers coming back to the state. We hope not many of them are selling and wearing the T-shirts mentioned in the article. Eek!

– Some travelers have not been adhering to rules for wearing masks or failing to socially distance resulting in over 4,500 warnings for violations per KHON.

A new video from the Hawaii visitors bureau provides some new travel tips for the new normal:

If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, we recommend you review the following official resources to guide you through the processes:

  1. Hi Sheila-

    Thanks for the great updates. What do you think about Kauai’s tiered plan? It is our special place and I am afraid it will be hard to get people to commit to a vacation when they could be forced into quarantine literally right before they go (or even while there?). I understand the fear but think the harm to the economy and mental health will last longer than the virus. We rescheduled for April but I don’t have much faith things will be better.


  2. After 4 postponements, we finally got to Ko-Olina, Oahu. Like everyone else, we had to do song and a dance, submitting all the required documents to the state website, the worst being trying to meet the 72 hour pre-travel test and hoping to get the result in time. We took our test at the CVS Minute Clinic in Southern California, and to our surprise, we got our results (all 4 of us) within 36 hours. We expected long and painful reception line once we arrived, but the airport is nothing like how it was pre-COVID, because no one is coming to Hawaii -YET. Airport is like a ghost town, empty with all the shops closed. We went through the COVID reception line in less than 10 minutes, and got through the rental car line in less than 5 minutes. Yes, it was a LOT of work getting here with lots of grief and disappointments along the way due to the state’s indecision, but Hawaii is still Hawaii with beautiful scenery and magical air. We almost gave up and considered changing our trip to Cabo up to the last few days prior to our departure, but we stuck it out, and it turns out, it was the right decision. For those planning to visit Hawaii, don’t give up. Once you get off the plane, it is theoretically one of the safest places you can be, and the islands are not bad either. Good luck!

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