of entry requirements for U.S. mainland travelers, the rules for arrival on Maui are changing again.
Governor David Ige has just approved an amendment of the state’s ‘Safe Travels’ program that’s specific to Maui County, which will oblige interstate visitors landing at Kahului Airport to take a secondary COVID-19 rapid test upon arrival or undergo the standard, mandatory 10-day quarantine. That’s in addition to the statewide requirement for a pre-travel NAAT test, which must be administered within 72 hours of the final leg of their flight, in order to bypass quarantine under the ‘Safe Travels’ system.
Maui’s Mayor Michael Victorino remarked that he had hoped the change could take effect as early as April 9, but that it will take at least 10 working days to get the proper equipment brought in and workers trained for the task. He indicated, however, that the new program should be up and running by month’s end, according to Maui Now.
Once the Country feels confident initiating the program, the mayor stated that “ample notice” of the new policy will be provided so that travelers are aware that they’ll be subject to this secondary, post-travel rapid test once they step off their arriving flights.
While pre-travel NAAT testing, which must be arranged for and financed by travelers themselves, and performed by one of Hawaii’s Trusted Testing and Travel Partners labs, the secondary rapid antigen test at Kahului Airport will be paid for by the County of Maui.
On April 5, Governor Ige stated that, while he supports the post-travel testing initiative, he doesn’t feel that the cost of additional tests should be passed on to travelers. Therefore, the counties that want to implement secondary testing measures would need to find a way to pay for it themselves.
“The county is willing to cover the cost to make sure returning visitors and residents are tested and safe,” said Mayor Victorino.
The mayor admitted that the county anticipates its new program to present some challenges, particularly during a three- to four-hour window when up to a dozen transpacific flights typically arrive at the airport, with some days featuring even more flights on the schedule. Sometimes flights are delayed, he pointed out, and adding in an extra element for passenger processing will likely clog up the works somewhat.
Mayor Victorino said that the results of secondary tests will be used to determine whether visitors and returning residents are contributing to an increase in cases. If positivity rates from post-arrival rapid tests are high, the county might consider moving between tiers, the mayor announced. “Until we do testing and get the facts on the table, I’ll reserve comments,” he said.
For more information, visit mauicounty.gov.
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