Oh, Canada: Hawai‘i to Offer Quarantine Exemption to Canadians by Next Month

November 19, 2020, 3:04 PM HST (Updated November 19, 2020, 5:58 PM)
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America’s neighbor to the north will soon be able to travel to Hawai‘i absent the onerous burden of two weeks in quarantine.

Governor David Ige announced in a press conference Thursday that Canada will be incorporated into the state’s Safe Travels Program before the end of the year. The country joins Japan as one of two international departure points with quarantine exemption plans in place for travel to Hawai‘i.

“Beginning in mid-December, (Canadians) may bypass the quarantine if they take (a coronavirus) test from trusted partners,” Ige said.

Those partners will be identified by Air Canada and WestJet. Canadian residents can access the following links for testing options in their country:

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The same requirements for all other domestic and international trans-Pacific travelers are applicable to those visiting Hawai‘i from Canada — taking a coronavirus test within 72 hours of departure and uploading those test results digitally to Hawai‘i’s system before boarding the last leg of their journeys. The latter requirement is a tweak to current program rules, which was also announced by Ige Thursday.

Travelers without proof of a negative test result prior to boarding their flights to Hawai‘i will be required to self-quarantine for 14-days or the length of stay, whichever is shorter.

“The resumption of transpacific travel from Canada will strengthen Hawai‘i’s gradual economic recovery,” said Hawai‘i Tourism Authority president and CEO John De Fries.

As to the type of passenger load Hawai‘i should expect from Canada, De Fries was unable to say, adding that HTA is at least 10 days away from producing any sort of projection.

“We welcome Gov. Ige’s announcement today designating Air Canada as one of Hawaiʻi’s trusted travel partners and extending the state of Hawaiʻi’s pre-travel testing program to Air Canada’s customers,” said Timothy Liu, Managing Director, Sales Planning at Air Canada. “Programs like this that provide viable, effective, and alternative options to blanket quarantine requirements are an important step to safely reopen travel around the world.”

Canadian nationals traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country. Travel restrictions on US travel to Canada remain in place.

Ige said Thursday that talks about adding more countries to the state’s Safe Travels Program are ongoing and include South Korea and Taiwan. Discussions are also being held with New Zealand but remain a long way off, as many countries are wary to allow travel to and from the US, which is home to the highest COVID-19 infection and death rates in the world.

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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