Pre-test mainland travelers begin arriving

  • Hawaii residents Ella Sidlow, center, pets her dog Cookie between her sister Sienna, left, and mother Gina, right, as they wait to return home on a United Airlines flight to Hawaii at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Coronavirus weary residents and struggling business owners in Hawaii will be watching closely as tourists begin to return to the islands on Thursday without having to self-quarantine upon arrival. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A pair of signs join the Aloha greeting geared toward motorists leaving the Lihu‘e Airport, Thursday at the Ahukini Road, Kapule Highway intersection.

LIHU‘E — Across from the Lihu‘e Airport, two welcoming signs appeared overnight leading into Thursday’s reopening.

“Please kokua,” one sign read. “Keep us COVID-safe.”

About 30 trans-Pacific flights, some cargo but mostly passenger, entered the state yesterday, carrying over 8,300 new arrivals, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said yesterday during a press conference at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

Travelers are required to complete the state’s Safe Travels form, registering flight and pre-travel test information.

Out-of-state or interisland travelers must receive a negative Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT)/PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test through a state-partnered organization within 72 hours of arrival in the state to bypass the quarantine.

Test results can be recalled at any time via this platform.

“We do know every traveler on every flight what their specific status would be,” Gov. David Ige said Thursday.

However, the state cannot stop a positive case from boarding a plane or entering the state, but Ige said visitors should practice on “personal responsibility.”

“We are asking for the same level of diligence and care from our visitors that we expect from our residents,” Ige said Thursday. “We do know the residents of Hawai‘i have sacrificed tremendously to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

The state will start its surveillance program on Oct. 19, randomly selecting 10% of travelers. The 10%, Green said, was based on a model used in Tahiti.

“We are trying to build a program that gives us a snapshot,” Ige added.

It’s inevitable that cases will rise, Green said, but that’ll partially be due to people getting back to work.

“People will be having lunch together, they will be working side by side, this is more people working in this terminal than have worked in the last three months,” he said.

There is no “explicit” positivity rate that would send the state back into lock-down, Ige said.

The state’s Department of Health reported 91 new positive cases and one COVID-19 related death on O‘ahu. These cases include two on Maui, 13 on Hawai‘i Island, 74 on O‘ahu, and two out of state.

The state peaked at 318 hospitalizations on August 5. On Thursday, the state had 103 people hospitalized.

In Lihu‘e, the Kaua‘i Police Department ramped up its presence at the airport yesterday.

“With the anticipated higher volume of passengers arriving today, KPD did increase the amount of officers at the airport to assist with the COVID-related operations,” a spokesperson for the department said.

Early Thursday morning, Kaua‘i County Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa got a call from an upset resident.

The constituent, he said, saw signs protesting the islands reopening and felt uneasy over the rhetoric from local residents demanding the island stay closed and telling travelers to leave.

“The majority of people who have come onto the island have followed the rules,” he said. “You have residents that have been trying to come home since the pandemic started.”

Protesting the reopening, he continued, is not the way to go.

“How would we feel if we got those signs? Where’s the line?” he said. “It’s trying to instill violence. That’s not acceptable.”

  1. Ashley October 16, 2020 6:20 am Reply

    Lt. Governor Josh Green is full of it. Traveling to Tahiti requires 2 tests for all travelers-a pre and post test. The way he describes it in this article is as if Tahiti does the second test to 10% of travelers, which is not true. Also, Tahiti’s Covid cases has grown considerably since reopening even with the 2 test requirement. COVID is not like getting the regular Flu, it is deadlier and more contagious. Also, studies have shown that Native Hawaiians are more adversely affected by it than caucasians, so locals, (not just the elderly) have every right to be concerned. You mainland business owners that decided to make a buck selling the “Hawaii experience” to tourists, only care about keeping your businesses open for greed. Hawaii was being raped by the tourism industry long before COVID and if some of the visitor catered business close, that’s fine by me. We had too many of them anyway. Time to diversify Hawaii’s economy so that we aren’t so desperate for tourists and their money.

    1. Hawi Hiker October 16, 2020 3:43 pm Reply


      1. Rich key October 16, 2020 10:47 pm Reply

        Right on. This greed or need for profit all boils down to not only way too much business is doing the same thing over in the islands but the government base thriving or needing to have a life support or an IV in their arm from all tax dollars coming from all sales. And being the fact that most governments probably never saw this coming, I’m sure all government or municipality coffers are quite empty originally emptied by the greed and the stealing from government of all the taxpayers money is but now more empty because all the government officials that took all this money to begin with never saw this pandemic coming. Now they really are choked and now they cannot use extra money as none is coming in buffer by more money still in the coffers. All governments ripoff everybody and all tax towers are only to be raped by the powers that be in place. Has a smile and shake hands with their constituents that voted them in the Sham of all government or big Power is really just a large extortion

    2. ErdoganG October 17, 2020 2:35 pm Reply

      Ashley, Let us think of Hawaii as an isolated country. It needs food, vehicles for transportation, fuel, clothing etc.. These Hawaii has to import and pay for with an accepted currency the US dollar. However, to get US dollars Hawaii has to sell something to the rest of the USA or the world. What would the country of Hawaii export – sugar cane, pineapples, may be marijuana ? all of these can be bought from other countries for a fraction of what Hawaii can produce them. Thus Hawaii would not have anything with which to earn the foreign currency, the US dollar. The end result will be an impoverished pacific island country like Vanuatu with a per capita income of about $3200, or like Tonga and Samoa with per capita incomes of about $6,000. Per capita income in Hawaii is $36,000+ thanks to tourism and because you are a part of the USA. So THINK before you speak!!

  2. valerie October 16, 2020 7:29 am Reply

    What was the number of travelers arriving on Kauai? It was not given and is a primary point of interest.

    1. Rpc October 16, 2020 10:14 pm Reply

      I believe it’s almost 900. Myself included.

  3. Kauaidoug October 16, 2020 8:48 am Reply

    Ige says relying on “personal responsibility”? You mean like all the people going to political rallies maskless? Is that what this whole program is relying on? I do not agree about being rude to visitors but I will stay out of their way until this very sketchy plan reveals whether it will work or not.

  4. Doug October 16, 2020 10:05 am Reply

    The signs are a direct result of Ige denying Mayor Derek’s second test plan, which most residents were comfortable with. Don’t blame the sign makers, blame Ige.

  5. Barbara Kelly October 16, 2020 2:08 pm Reply

    If residence and visitors are responsible and not act as if the virus is gone, this could work. I pray for HI because my kids live there and they are suffering from the economic outfall from this virus.

  6. sarah October 16, 2020 2:46 pm Reply

    I’m confused – one has to produce a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival, but then the article goes on and says that “However, the state cannot stop a positive case from boarding a plane or entering the state”. Clarification please.

  7. Wayne Zebzda October 16, 2020 3:53 pm Reply

    Yes it’s time to get creeped out again when going out to dine or get groceries. The Covid spreaders are coming back without a second test to check them. They are coming from the mainland USA where the rest of the world won’t let them visit because of the spike in cases. Being around others will once again feel like you’re in the wrong part of town after dark in a big dangerous city…hair on your neck going up and it’s not even Halloween. There is a safer way to do this and Mayor Derek had a pretty good plan. A simple second test after 3 days. Thank Gov. Ige for over ruling this protection. Maybe thank him at the polls next time when you vote.

  8. Jay Williamson October 16, 2020 5:08 pm Reply

    I take issue with Ashley’s opinion. The successful business owners who cater to visitors are not “greedy”. They have succeeded by sharing aloha with folks who seek a slower pace and wish to enjoy the incomparable beauty of Kauai. Ashley wants to build a wall around Kauai and keep the tourists out. Maybe she is the “greedy” one.

  9. Doug October 16, 2020 6:31 pm Reply

    This is remarkable for a supposed first world nation.

    “ “We do know every traveler on every flight what their specific status would be,” Gov. David Ige said Thursday.

    However, the state cannot stop a positive case from boarding a plane or entering the state, but Ige said visitors should practice on “personal responsibility.” “

  10. therealhawaiian October 16, 2020 6:50 pm Reply

    Traffic returned today! Quality of life will decline! Beaches will become overcrowded again soon! Nothing we can do about it! So sorry!

    1. noneedwork October 17, 2020 5:18 am Reply

      Traffic seemed to be worse today. People having to go back to work catering to tourists. Outrage. Why can’t we just have the government keep sending us money instead? Can’t wait to get the $500 restaurant gift card? See you on the beach!

  11. Oahushaveice October 16, 2020 8:46 pm Reply

    Last time I checked, Kauai and Hawaii were a state. Depending on the US Mainland for almost everything. Can’t pick and chose Ashley. Tourists can come and go as they want. You have no right or power whatsoever to stop them. If they were carrying Covid- well duh they aren’t allowed in. But if they pass the safety measures they have been asked to do…well you better get used to it. And BTW…without tourists your economy would flat file and you’d be asking for more support from the government that you won’t support its laws. Can’t have your shave ice and eat it too

  12. Anne October 16, 2020 9:09 pm Reply

    COVID spreader? I’m one of those visitors who will be arriving COVID free, wearing a mask indoors and outdoors, socially distancing, and trying to support local businesses and restaurants. Why? Because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 7 months in California. Protecting myself and protecting others. Sure, there are some people who won’t follow the rules, so enforce the rules with them and hold them accountable, but don’t harrass the ones who are interested in keeping you safe and helping your economy.

  13. Reality Bites October 17, 2020 3:59 am Reply

    You commenters kill me……so what is the goal????? Zero positive tests on the islands…..then open up?……never going to happen. Zero deaths for a virus with over a 99% survivability rate?

    The state is bankrupt. We are living off of Federal funds that are being printed daily. Wait till you see how much your home appreciates as the dollar plummets with the associated yearly tax increases coming your way. You will all cry we should have stopped watching NETFLIX months ago and opened up the state to business.

  14. Chris October 17, 2020 6:15 am Reply

    These comments are unsettling. We invested in a small condo 8 yrs. ago, and visit 2 or 3 times a year, otherwise renting it out. The fact that Kauai does not seem to want tourists any longer is apparent. But tell that to our housekeeper/on-island rep and her staff, our plumber, contractor/remodeler, professional photographer, window installer, carpet installers and cleaners, handyman, pest company, the on-island furniture stores where we bought all the furniture, art and mattresses, the restaurants (including chefs, bussers, waiters, etc.), boat tour companies, etc. the list could go on and on. You want to diversify your economy, what are you going to sell? Sand? Sun? After this is over, we will consider moving our investment and locating where our business is appreciated. Covid unfortunately will be with us a long time, we have to open up and safely learn to live with it.

  15. Kawahine October 17, 2020 6:23 am Reply

    Something to ponder, I think the Mayor has it right. “ Kauai residents returning from mainland travel pose a greater risk of introducing COVID-19 because of the ways in which they interact in our community. Residents interact with their families, household members, co-workers, and friends and neighbors on a daily basis—thus potentially exposing many more people than the typical visitor would expose. “ found on mayors website. Time to shift the thought process. It just might be returning residents that are the spreaders.

    1. ErdoganG October 17, 2020 2:18 pm Reply

      You are absolutely right. The last Covid 19 cluster was a family cluster with one young person returning from Oahu and bringing the covid to his family group. Most Kauai visitors are families with two to three generations together and they are very considerate of others, educated and try to minimize their impact on the environment I am also certain that they would not want to risk themselves or others if they had any suspicion of having covid.

  16. Jim Dandy October 17, 2020 7:52 am Reply

    We came back on the 15th with the masses and most people were kind, but one foolish older guy with a Colorado face mask couldn’t get over himself. The flight attendant had to ask a couple people so many times to put their mask on, and how to wear it, she finally made an announcement calling them out. If you can’t find enough reason to wear a mask, you have no aloha and don’t deserve to come here. To the majority of the people that just came back, aloha and spend money and tip very graciously, the locals need and deserve it. Mahalo

    1. arbitrary October 18, 2020 4:15 pm Reply

      locals do not deserve tips nor aloha.

  17. M. K. October 17, 2020 7:30 pm Reply

    Originally from Kauai. Now live on in the Northeast.

    Some visitors to Hawaii believe that locals have no choice but to accept visitors. This is all the US, they have the right to free travel, etc.

    Yes, and no. What the locals want is to be treated with respect and not as less-then workers who should be grateful for whatever money the visitors spend, and they don’t want to get sick. Locals would have appreciated tourists sticking to the 14-day quarantine policy but they proved they selfishly wanted to enjoy themselves and break the rules.

    Within the state of NY, for instance, there is lots of tension between folks from NY City, who are used to vacationing in upstate NY, and the local folks who live in those small communities all year ’round.

    The New Yorkers from the City expect to be welcomed with open arms because they come bearing dollars; the small communities’ businesses and local residents expect the visitors to leave their cash on the window or door sills, and not expect any friendly interactions.

    It’s a pandemic. Everyone, just be sane and treat others thoughtfully. If you can’t then please stay home.

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