Hawaii to require visitors to fill out online ‘Safe Travels’ form prior to travel

Hawaii‘s government will be requiring all travelers to fill out its online “Safe Travels” application in an effort to keep its residents and visitors healthy during the coronavirus pandemic beginning Tuesday.

Travelers currently can fill out two different forms: one for inter-island travel and one for trans-pacific travel. This new plan digitizes the process, which is currently in paper form, and uses the same form for each traveler type.

It collects health and contact information to assist in public health monitoring.

It’s part of a new screening process that includes temperature checks and secondary screening for travelers with symptoms or 100.4℉ or higher temperatures.

“I am pleased to launch this digital app which will allow our travelers to provide their required health and travel information before they arrive at the airport,” Gov. David Ige said in a news release. “It will also help us keep in contact with those who are required to be in quarantine. This is an important step in preparing to reopen our economy.”

Here’s how it works: Travelers enter their information and trip details 24 hours ahead of their flights. Then they receive a QR code via email after entering their information, which is scanned at the airport once they arrive at their destination.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced earlier this month that the state won’t reopen to tourism until at least October, which means its 14-day mandatory quarantine for both out-of-state and inter-island travelers (in Kauai, Hawaii, Maui and Kalawao counties) remains intact.

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However, the state is working on a “resort bubble concept” for inter-island travelers. The state calls the program an “enhanced movement quarantine” that each county can develop to give residents and visitors the ability to travel between islands without a 14-day quarantine.

Officials had been reviewing an idea that would allow tourists to roam freely on resorts while their movements are tracked via a wearable monitor to ensure they stay inside the boundaries of the facilities.

The “resort bubble” concept would keep the tourists within a “geofence” that tracks their movements, West Hawaii Today reported.

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The tourism delay, the second since the program was announced in June, will affect passengers who bet on the previous Sept. 1 reopening plan and bought airline tickets to Hawaii; airline flight schedules; and, of course, Hawaii’s pummeled tourism industry. The quarantine began in March, and the latest extension means much of the year will be wiped out as few visitors want to be confined to their hotel or vacation rental. 

The state also reinstituted a ban on social gatherings over five people – inside and outside – and other restrictions on Oahu, home to Honolulu and the site of the vast majority of the state’s coronavirus cases.

Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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