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Hawaii will reopen to tourists Oct. 15 — with some conditions


A surfer walks on a sparsely populated Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. (Audrey McAvoy/AP)

Travelers can finally return to Hawaii starting next month.

Beginning Oct. 15, travelers can visit the islands if they take a coronavirus test, and test negative, within 72 hours before arriving in the state to avoid a 14-day quarantine once there, Gov. David Ige (D) said during a news conference this week.

If their test result is not available once they are in Hawaii, visitors will need to remain in quarantine until they get the result, said Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. Josh Green during the news conference announcing plans for the pre-travel testing program.

Ige said pharmacy chain CVS and health-care provider Kaiser Permanente will offer tests as part of an agreement with the state of Hawaii. In a news release, the state said only FDA-approved coronavirus tests known as nucleic acid amplification tests are approved as part of Hawaii’s travel program.

Travelers will also have their temperature checked upon arrival and will be required to complete a travel and health form.

If their test result is not available upon arrival, visitors will need to remain in quarantine until they get the result, said Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. Josh Green during the news conference. Green joined virtually because he recently tested positive for the disease and said he is isolating at home.

Green said the new travel program will be an economic boost for the state “when so many people are suffering.”

The state has been effectively closed to visitors amid the pandemic, which has had a devastating economic impact.

“I worry about the long-term impacts of economic distress and that impact it’s had on our people when they can’t afford their homes as easily or their groceries or their health care,” Green said. “So this is an important announcement the governor has made today.”

Hawaii last month delayed the reopening of the state to mainland travelers. The August postponement was the second time Hawaii delayed its reopening to out-of-state travelers in 2020.

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