Hawaii Quarantine Laws Modified to Boost Travellers Moral

Visitors, returning residents and local businesses of Hawaii, who have been witnessing the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic for over three months, have finally got some good news from the government. Considering the need to restart inbound tourism while keeping in mind the health and safety of the people, Governor David Ige has announced plans to change Hawaii quarantine laws for out-of-state visitors who don’t reflect signs of Covid-19 virus.

Based on the new quarantine rules announced earlier this week, out-of-state visitors arriving in Hawaii from Aug 1 will have to get a valid Covid-19 negative test in order to enter the state. Unlike Alaska which provides visitors with an option to get tested on arrival, Hawaii claims that the testing must be completed at the destination of origin of the visitor.

Hawaii quarantine laws claim that absence of a negative test will imply 14-day quarantine period for the traveller. Meanwhile, state airports will continue temperature checks and anyone above 100.4 degrees will have to go for a secondary screening.

The decision to do away with mandatory quarantine is receiving extended appreciation from restaurant and hotel owners in Hawaii. The Governor claims that he is advocating for reinventing “every part the hospitality industry” in the state while following all guidelines. Further he claims that the new Hawaii quarantine laws have been taken with due consideration on the need to protect the tourism industry which is suffering due to Covid-19.

As per data from the Hawaiian government, tourism accounted for nearly 16 percent of the state’s GDP in 2019. The ongoing travel restrictions have not only affected government revenues, but also impacted the hospitality and tourism industry. Speaking about the loss, incoming Chairman of the Hawaii Restaurant Association — Maples said, “Without tourism, we are in a world of hurt”.

As per Ige, Hawaii is also looking forth to establishing ‘travel bubbles’ with New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Korea considering the low infection rates.

Although the negation of Hawaii’s quarantine period is receiving appreciation by members of the hospitality industry, many people are sceptical about the idea. It is likely for someone to get infected after they get the Covid-19 test. In such a scenario, an infected person could be freely moving in Hawaii due to the absence of mandatory quarantine rules.

A report from the Hawaii Tourism Authority revealed that hotel occupancy rates reduced by 69% in April this year. The authority is hoping for some improvement in the numbers from Aug 1 when the new rules shall be put in action.

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