Over the past week, more details have come out about what the pre-travel testing program, slated to begin October 15, 2020, entails, and what is actually required of incoming visitors.
As I shared in my most recent post, the governor finally green-lighted the much anticipated Pre-Travel Testing Program, which would allow visitors who have a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of the final leg of their trip, to be allowed in to the state without the need to quarantine.
However, details were sparse at the time. They have since been a bit more clarified, and it both opens up possibilities, as well as creates a few potential difficulties.
According to this article in West Hawaii Today on Tuesday, the State has partnered with specific providers to get the authorized tests (CVS, Kaiser Permanente and Walgreens), as well as the fact that ALL travelers, even children under 12, must provide a negative test, even though it has been acknowledged that most providers will not perform tests on any person under 12, leaving families with children in a quandary. It is not that they would not be allowed on the plane, but if you cannot provide a negative test for your kids, they would still be subject to the 14-day mandatory quarantine, the same as anyone else who cannot produce a negative test.
The article does go on to clarify that if you were able to get the test (but not the results) before your departure, you will be able to come, but must quarantine until you can provide your negative test results to the authorities. Once that is done, you will be released from quarantine.
Another important piece of information that has been clarified in recent days is that the state will NOT allow you to get a test once you arrive here in Hawaii. It must be done before departure, so if you are unable to get the appropriate test before you leave, you will be subject to that mandatory 14-day quarantine.
In attempt to aid travelers who are itching to come, United Airlines has announced that it will provide Covid-19 tests to any travelers heading to Hawaii on site for $250, but only at their San Francisco hub for the time being. The hope it that more airlines will follow suit.
If you have a wedding scheduled with us coming up after October 15th, know we are here if you run into snafus, and will work with you to figure out an alternate date if need be for your wedding, as the State attempts to figure out a system that works!
Governor Ige announced yesterday that the pre-arrivals testing program is slated to begin on October 15th, assuming all goes according to plan.
According to an article in the Star Advertiser today, "The testing program allows travelers who have taken a Food and Drug Administration-approved COVID-19 NAAT test from a CLIA lab and tested negative within 72 hours of traveling to Hawaii to bypass a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for out-of-state passengers that’s been in place since March 26."
However, it goes on to say that for those who don't have their test results back in time, they will be required to quarantine upon arrival until their results are received.
From a wedding standpoint, this is hopeful, but also something to be cautious about. This is a plan that was supposed to begin August 1st, then September 1st, so we'll see if it actually goes off without a hitch on the actual set date. Knowing Hawaii and any new system like this anywhere, I'd expect that it's going to be a bit clunky when people first arrive, and that may mean a long wait at the airport or other confusion. This may not matter so much if you were just coming on vacation, but as a couple about to get married, this uncertainty may create undue stress.
The other thing to consider/note, is what will happen assuming things do open up. If there is a surge in cases, you can expect the program to be shut down in short order so as not to overwhelm our hospitals.
It is also uncertain that they will lift the current limitation of just 10 people allowed to gather in public, outdoors, meaning if you have a larger group expected at your wedding, not everyone may be able to attend.
As a wedding planner, I also want to be sure everyone has fun, but is also safe, and that I am in compliance with all local and state laws. This may mean masking up for much of your wedding ceremony at this time.
Basically, it seems that we are moving in the right direction, but with a lot of uncertainty until things actual get rolling.
If you have a wedding with Simple Kona Beach Weddings, know you are covered (and if your original agreement didn't have this clause, we'll add it!) for postponements/reschedules for up to one year of your original date should Covid-19 travel restrictions keep you from coming. If you are one of our couples and you have questions and/or want to talk about your options, please be in touch!
In the meantime, here's hoping things actually move according to plan, and more smoothly than we could ever imagine!
Owner/Planner/Coordinator and Officiant of Simple Kona Beach Weddings