Hawai‘i to Lift Interisland Travel Quarantine by Mid-June

June 1, 2020, 2:22 PM HST (Updated June 1, 2020, 7:25 PM)
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At a press conference from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu Monday afternoon, Gov. David Ige announced that he would lift the mandatory, 14-day interisland travel quarantine as of June 16.

“This is first and foremost for Hawai‘i residents,” the governor said. “It’s the opportunity for our families to reconnect with one another, to be reunited. I have heard so many times from my friends about the desire to visit an aunty or uncle in need over the past few months.”

Several key indicators allowed Ige to make the decision, he said. Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 infection rate is “clearly the lowest” in the country. The state reported zero new cases statewide Monday and identified only 12 new infections statewide over the last week. There have been zero fatalities in the last four weeks, though 17 people have died in Hawai‘i since the pandemic began. Nearly 96% of people infected with COVID-19 statewide have been released from isolation and are considered recovered as of noon Monday.

Healthcare capacity in the state is “adequate” to lifte the quarantine, the governor continued. The state has also built out a network of contact-tracing that Ige said will allow Hawai‘i “to slowly assume more risk” and restart its ravaged economy.

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“We don’t want people to be afraid,” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Green. “We have adequate ICU beds, we have ventilators available. People should not be nervous if the (COVID-19 infection rates) tip up a little bit. … Please do not be worried about that. We will continue to monitor this (constantly).”

Increased thermal screening will put in place at airports to monitor those traveling between islands. A new travel form will also be implemented, although the final version of the form is not complete.

CEO of Hawaiian Airlines Peter Ingram said the airline is running 40 flights daily from Honolulu to airports in Kailua-Kona, Hilo, Maui and Lihue. The daily flight load pre-pandemic was around 180.

Capacity on the five round-trip flights to four neighbor island airports, which has served essential workers since the interisland travel quarantine began, run at between 20% and 30% capacity. The airline will fill those seats first, after which Ingram said the airline has the planes and the staff on-hand and ready to meet any increased demand.

He added that Hawaiian doesn’t expect to see pre-pandemic interisland demand for a long while, as some will remain hesitant to travel due to the risks of COVID-19, and the long-haul business of out-of-state and out-of-country arrivals won’t be eligible to purchase tickets for the flights.

Hawai‘i Attorney General Clare Connors affirmed Monday that all those arriving from out-of-state won’t be allowed to travel interisland until completing their 14-day quarantines.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter, and radio talk show personality covering college athletics in Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing, and his work as a sports columnist.

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