Governor Extends Hawai‘i’s 14-Day Quarantine for International and Out-of-State Arrivals to July 31
By Wendy Osher
Governor David Ige has extended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for international and out-of-state arrivals into Hawaii through the end of July, 2020.
The extension was announced during a press briefing this afternoon, and is part of the governor’s Ninth Emergency Proclamation relating to COVID-19.
Gov. Ige pointed to new flare-ups in key mainland markets like California, with more than 2,000 new cases yesterday. “We will not reopen out-of-state travel before the end of June,” said Gov. Ige, and noting that his latest proclamation gives him the flexibility to reopen travel “when the state is ready.”
Maui Mayor Victorino said he was “a little taken by the announcement” today, but said in the interim it will provide time to work out bugs from lifting the interisland travel quarantine starting next week.
“Although I think many of us expected something of that nature to be announced by the governor, I think he’s still exercising caution, but there still are many other aspects that we’re working on,” said Mayor Victorino. “If it works well… and we get the three day testing before you leave your destination to come to Hawaii–and to Maui in particular, I think maybe you’ll see an earlier opening. But just so that everybody understands, I think the governor is trying to be very cautious, and to a point, many of us mayors agree to a certain degree. But we’re still pushing him along to say hey, if our numbers remain low as they have been, maybe an earlier opening may be available.”
A separate quarantine in place for interisland travel will be lifted next week Tuesday, June 16, as previously announced. This applies only to air travel within the state, and anyone arriving into the state would still be subject to a 14-day quarantine through at least the end of next month.
The governor also shared that the state is reviewing five different companies as part of a procurement process to implement a facial recognition program at the airport. Gov. Ige said the program costs would be covered by CARES Act funding.
“Even though we have thermal scanners that are operated manually, the facial recognition would allow us to recognize people who are exceeding the 100.4 degree temperature as they walk through the terminal; and would allow us to meet with them, retake their temperature and redo a more comprehensive health screening so that we can provide them either the opportunity to be tested or I encourage them to seek healthcare as appropriate,” said Gov. Ige.
As of June 16, the state will be rolling out a new health screening process. This is described as the state’s first step towards doing something other than a travel quarantine, according to Attorney General Clare Connors.
All passengers who are traveling interisland will have to complete a new mandatory State of Hawaii travel and health form; and they will also be part of a screening process. This will include a series of questions and a temperature check upon arrival.
“Based on what happens during that screening process, they may be offered a COVID-19 test,” said AG Connors. Once they’ve cleared that process, and as the Governor said, if they have 100.4 fever, they will not be flying that day. But once they clear that process, then they would be allowed to go through TSA and continue on their travels.”
Travelers who plan to travel interisland from June 16th onward, are encouraged to go online and fill out the required form before arriving at the airport.
In an effort to make the passenger verification process more efficient, the state Department of Transportation Airports Division has reached out to seven companies to explore the implementation of thermal temperature scanners and equipment to help screen passengers at airports in Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, Hilo and Lihue.
Hawaii DOT spokesperson Tim Sakahara said five of those companies have responded and will participate. “The pilot program will be at the Daniel K Inouye International Airport HNL. Companies will begin installing both temperature screening equipment and facial recognition cameras next week. The pilot program will continue through June 26. This will allow us to see how the system works in real time,” said Sakahara.
“We will study the capability and functionality of both the thermal screening and facial recognition technology, the cost, innovation and also consider other factors such as local support,” said Sakahara.
“The companies will then submit their costs and final proposals by June 26 and we anticipate making a selection within a week,” said Sakahara. Once the agreement is finalized with the winning company, HDOT will start an aggressive plan involving three phases, which are outlined below:
- Phase 1: Have thermal scanners installed at gates currently being used for arriving Trans-Pacific flights statewide by mid-July.
- Phase 2: Will have the thermal scanners installed at all gates by July 31.
- Phase 3: Expects to have the facial recognition equipment installed by December 31, the end of this year.
With more visitors and returning residents into the state, officials with the Hawaii DOT say they are making some modifications to help the efficiency of the passenger verification process.
Beginning June 16, the same day the interisland quarantine will be lifted, all arriving trans-Pacific flights into the Daniel K Inouye International Airport in Honolulu will park their aircraft in the C and G gates; and all departing trans-Pacific flights will use the E gates. “This will help separate the departing and arriving passengers,” said Sakahara, noting that the B gates will be reopened to accommodate the intersland flights. The B gates had previously been closed.
All arriving passengers who enter the state will still have their temperatures taken by the Hawaii National Guard as they exit the plane. One new difference is that passengers will then be funneled through a line toward the end of the concourse to have their travel declaration verified. That’s also where the passenger will sign the mandatory order for self quarantine, acknowledging that they are aware that they need to self-quarantine for 14 days or face criminal charges.
Attorney General Clare Connors joined the governor in providing details on the new process and form for interisland travel; DOT Tim Sakahara discussed the new screening measures at the airport; and Dr. Bruce Anderson from the Department of Health also provided updates.