The new inter-island quarantine rules, explained

The new inter-island quarantine rules, explained
Inter-island passengers go through screenings at Honolulu's airport. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you’re confused about how the new inter-island quarantine rule will work, you’re not alone.

The governor announced his plan to re-institute the 14-day quarantine at a news conference Thursday, saying it would apply to all inter-island travelers.

But later in the day, after consulting with the state attorney general, Ige changed his mind.

Instead, he said, the quarantine wouldn’t apply to those coming to Oahu. But it would apply to those flying between Neighbor Islands ― or headed back to a Neighbor Island from Oahu.

Among those confused about how the new rule would work was Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

On Friday morning, he told Hawaii News Now that requiring people flying between Neighbor Islands ‘doesn’t make sense.”

“If you do spend time on Oahu that’s where you’re at risk,” he said.

Here’s how the Governor’s Office says the new mandate will work:

  • The new order goes into effect Tuesday and continues through Aug. 31. The previous inter-island quarantine was instituted in April and lifted in June.
  • It requires anyone arriving by air on any island except Oahu to quarantine for 14 days.
  • That means Neighbor Island travelers headed to Oahu will be exempt. But those hopping from one Neighbor Island to another will have to quarantine.
  • For example, a traveler going from Maui to Kauai would need to quarantine.
  • Additionally, travelers returning to a Neighbor Island from Oahu will have to self-isolate.

Neighbor Island mayors had asked for the quarantine to be reinstated and applauded the governor’s decision Thursday.

They said it’s vital that the surge of COVID-19 cases on Oahu not be allowed to spread to other islands.

“We appreciate the governor for following our request and making the difficult decision to reinstate the mandatory 14-day quarantine for inter-island travelers,” said Maui Mayor Mike Victorino.

“As cases continue to rise exponentially on Oahu, bold actions need to be taken to protect our communities on the Neighbor Islands.”

This story will be updated.

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