Kauai County will soon reinstate its participation in the state’s pre-travel testing program — at least for interisland travel.
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami submitted a proposal to Gov. David Ige on Wednesday to amend the county’s Emergency Rule 23 to allow passengers traveling from other islands to bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine with proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken at least 72 hours prior to travel. Ige approved the request Wednesday afternoon.
Transpacific travelers arriving to Kauai will still be required to quarantine regardless of testing, and would need to be in the Islands for at least three days before they would be eligible for the exemption.
The request followed Kauai’s earlier proposal — which Ige also approved Wednesday afternoon — to establish a post-travel testing option for travelers who have taken a pre-travel test and are staying at “resort bubble” properties. Per the new rule, resort bubble guests will have the option to take a Covid-19 test three days after arrival. If that secondary test comes back negative, participants will be released from quarantine.
Both of the changes will go into effect beginning Jan. 5.
“We realize the Resort Bubble program is tailored to visitors and is not ideal for our residents,” said Kawakami in a statement. “Our residents continue to be our highest priority. Now that our community has been able to enjoy the holiday season without a major surge in cases, we feel we are in a good position to loosen inter-island travel restrictions and offer more convenient opportunities to travel between islands.”
The county said in a statement that “it is not yet known when Kauai’s moratorium on the Safe Travels program will end for Transpacific travelers.”
“With [Kauai’s] low rates of disease and frontline healthcare workers and first responders beginning to be vaccinated, this is an appropriate time to allow inter-island travel with a pre-travel test, while continuing to require additional precautions for people who recently traveled out of state,” stated Dr. Janet Berreman, Kauai district health officer.
By Christina O’Connor – Reporter, Pacific Business News