Hawaii’s Kauai Island opts out of state’s pre-travel testing program

(FILE) EBC Alberta Bureau Chief Thomas I. Likeness and his wife share this photo of their trip to Kauai Island. Before the pandemic, roughly half a million Canadians visited Hawaii each year, making them the second largest foreign visitor market in the Aloha State after Japan. (Photo by Thomas I. Likeness, EBC Alberta Bureau, Eagle News Service)


HONOLULU (Eagle News) – Governor David Ige has approved Kauai County’s request to not participate in the state’s pre-travel testing program.

Starting on Wednesday, December 2, all transpacific and intercounty travelers arriving in Kauai are subject to the 14-day quarantine, regardless of whether or not they took any pre-travel testing.

“The unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases on the mainland and the rise in community spread on Kauai are of significant concern for the Garden Isle.  We must protect Kauai residents and visitors and ensure that Kauai’s hospitals do not become overwhelmed,” said Ige.  “Kauai county currently has the fewest number of ICU beds in the state, and private providers are seeking ways to increase capacity.  This moratorium aims to stabilize the situation on Kauai.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami thanked the governor and emphasized the importance of enforcing the additional precaution for his county.

“Our travel related cases are now leading to community spread across our island.  This temporary pause in travel will allow us to remain in Tier 4 as long as possible, keeping youth sports playing and businesses open as we conduct surge testing and contact tracing.  I will gladly repeal the moratorium once we have the virus under control again.”

The County of Kauai’s modified quarantine program will remain in place for critical infrastructure workers, essential medical travel, or other special circumstances.  The pre-travel testing program remains in place for all other counties in the Aloha State.

(With reports from EBC Hawaii Bureau, Eagle News Service)