Interisland Travel Resumes; Rental Companies Begin Sending Cars Back to Mainland
By Wendy Osher
Transportation workers at Kahului Airport were met with about 150 people already waiting in line at 6 a.m. on Tuesday (June 16), as interisland travel resumed without the previously required 14-day quarantine.
“The message we’d like to get out to the public is, please print your forms out before you get to the airport. The process takes a little while if you do it at the airport. We do have forms there for you to fill out, but if you can, get it online… that will help us tremendously to expedite the process,” said Marvin Moniz, Maui Airports district manager.
“We did have the National Guard presence today helping us with line control and also taking the temperature check,” said Moniz.
The process starts with passengers being processed by the National Guard. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to fly. Passengers returning from other islands will also go through the same process.
“For the most part, I think it went well for the first day. We do have a few glitches and some staffing adjustments to make tomorrow and going forward,” said Moniz.
The staffing includes about a dozen personnel including: five agents processing completed forms, four National Guard members that are taking temperature checks, along with another four National Guard personnel that are assisting with line control.
Part of the adjustments that are being made is the reconfiguration of the checkpoints to accommodate longer lines. “Part of the longer lines was created because of the social distancing now with the six feet gap, so the lines become further stretched out. Along with some passengers that showed up late for flights, and didn’t allow enough time, that also created some back up at the checkpoint,” said Moniz.
According to airport officials, both Hawaiian and Southwest were able to depart without leaving any passengers behind.
Out-of-state Travelers Still Required to Undergo 14-Day Quarantine
While the quarantine for interisland travel is being lifted, the mandatory 14-day quarantine for international and out-of-state arrivals into Hawaiʻi remains in place through at least July 31, 2020.
Passengers arriving on incoming flights from the US mainland will have to fill out a form that includes information on where they are staying. “You have to have a place that you are staying–a hotel or a residence. If you’re here to go camping to stay down the beach, say you’re staying at a shelter–those are all not acceptable. So we will send you back to the west coast city that you originated from,” said Moniz.
“If you have an exemption because you’re working, we’ll give you a form that says you’re exempt. It will allow you to go to and from work and also pick up some meals and return back to your hotel. If you don’t have an exemption, you are totally quarantined, so you have to stay within your room for the whole 14 days,” said Moniz.
Rental Car Companies Starting to Send Vehicles Back
An overflow of returned rental vehicles continues to be staged around Kahului Airport due to lack of space and few travelers.
“Most of the car rental companies are starting to send cars back to the mainland. We’ve had quite a reduction–although it doesn’t look like it–but we’ve had a reduction in vehicles that we house here at the airport,” said Moniz.
Airport officials say there’s some concern about fire dangers in the area. “We did do a joint training program with the Maui Fire Department and the Airport Fire Department just in case that came up–because I believe there was one at Fort Meyers Airport … where 3,000 cars were burned. So we are addressing that dry brush issue,” said Moniz.
“In regards to the land usage, currently because of the noise of aircrafts there, it kind of limits us to what we can do around the airport as far as leasing out land for farming or some commercial use; but that’s always open options that we’ll probably look into once most of these cars clear out,” said Moniz.
The recently completed (2019) Consolidated Rent-A-Car facility on Maui has 1.2 million square feet of space and sits on a 19 acre parcel. The building features a total of 4,436 parking stalls: 3,743 for car rentals; and 693 stalls on the upper level for airport staff/employee parking and space for overflow inventory.