LIHU‘E — The county is seeking approval to create a post-travel resort bubble program that would allow incoming travelers to test out of the quarantine after three days.
If approved by Gov. David Ige, incoming travelers with a negative pre-travel test staying at a county-approved resort bubble property would be able to bypass the state-mandated 10-day quarantine with a negative post-arrival COVID-19 test taken after at least three days on island.
It’s a program that would be independent of the state’s Safe Travels program, and would allow travelers to take COVID-19 tests that are not included in the state’s trusted partners for both the pre-travel and post-travel test as long as it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization.
This program, if approved, would go into effect Tuesday, January 5, 2021.
“We recognize this is not what we asked for, but we see this as progress toward our effort to allow more incoming travelers to Kaua‘i while keeping our residents safe,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said in his COVID-19 briefing Wednesday.
This voluntary program, Kawakami said, is specific to those staying in resort bubbles, regardless of residency or origin. Travelers would need to seek their own post-arrival test at their cost, a county spokesperson said.
“Otherwise, travelers can still quarantine for the 10 days at a private residence or non-resort bubble hotels and motels,” he said.
Rule 24 stems from Ige’s rejection of a mandatory post-travel test with three-day quarantine for all arrivals Kawakami proposed prior.
“Ultimately, Rule 21 was not approved but we have continued to work with Governor Ige, who expressed support for implementing a post-travel testing program for Enhanced Movement Quarantine properties,” Kawakami said Wednesday.
On Dec. 2, the county temporarily suspended its participation in the state’s Safe Travels program which allows travelers to bypass a 10-day quarantine with a negative COVID-19 pre-test. This rule was requested after the county reported a two-week trend of infections increases by over 43%.
The Kaua‘i Police Department and Hawai‘i National Guard are monitoring about 2,000 people in travel-related quarantine, Kawakami said.
The county has six approved Enhanced Movement Quarantine resort bubble properties, including The Cliffs at Princeville, Hilton Garden Inn Kaua‘i Wailua Bay, Ko‘a Kea Hotel &Resort at Po‘ipu, The Club at Kukui‘ula, Timbers Kaua‘i Ocean Club at Hoku‘ala and Kaua‘i Marriott Resort at Kalapaki Bay.
There, guests have use of on-site amenities, like golf courses, spas and dining facilities. Stays at these locations are monitored with tracking bracelets that if tampered with would alert security.