Hospitality Industry to Fund Big Island Post-Arrival COVID Tests For 3 Months
Post-arrival airport testing of trans-Pacific travelers will continue for as long as three months, Hawaiʻi County announced Friday.
The county said that the program, which has been in place since late last year, has seen a recent uptick in positive cases, prompting the island’s hospitality industry to seek partnerships to further fund the testing program. The program is currently under county contract and is slated to end on May 10, a day before the state transitions to its new interisland vaccine exemption program.
Airport testing for trans-Pacific travelers will continue to focus on travelers who cannot provide proof of vaccination. Travelers who are able to produce proof of vaccination, with the final vaccination date being at least 14 days prior to arrival, will be granted an exemption from the post-arrival test.
“We are extremely grateful to our hospitality industry for taking the initiative to seek partnerships in a greater effort to keep our island safe,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “The level of care and aloha we’ve seen on our island over the past year continues to astound me. Every time there has been a cause for concern for our County, there have been vested community members and organizations there to do whatever it takes to keep our communities safe, and that is why we have been one of the best in the nation at slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
The County of Hawaiʻi will continue the program until the State’s vaccination exemption program rolls out for trans-Pacific travelers. To date, an average of over 60% of daily arrivals have been able to show proof of vaccination upon arrival.
“As our island begins to see a steady influx of visitors, our hotels, small businesses, and other vested community members felt that the added layer of protection at our airports is vital to the overall safety of our residents,” said Craig Anderson, Island of Hawaiʻi Chapter Chairperson for the Hawaiʻi Tourism and Lodging Association. “Although we are excited to see the return of visitors to the islands, our number one priority always has and will continue to be the health and safety of our community. It’s what makes our island so special, unique, and truly the best place to visit in the state.”