Around 8K individuals landed in Hawaii on the 1st day of a pre-travel testing program that allowed vacationers to arrive to the islands without self-isolating for 14 days if they could produce a negative Covid-19 test.
The testing program is an effort to stem the brutal affect the Covid-19 crisis has had on Hawaii’s tourism-based economy. Authorities had touted the mandatory self-isolation rule as an essential part of Hawaii’s early success in keeping the Covid-19 at bay.
But holes in the pre-travel testing program coupled with rising cases of coronavirus across the United States have raised questions about whether Hawaii is ready to safely welcome back travelers.
And when local rules were eased before summertime holidays, community spread of the virus surged to jaw-dropping levels, forcing a 2nd round of stay-at-home orders for residents & closures for nonessential businesses.
Opponents of the testing program have said a single test 3 days before arrival, especially when coupled with the choice to fly without a test & still self-isolate, is not enough to keep island residents safe.