Ige: Quarantine for trans-Pacific travelers will likely be extended beyond Oct. 1

Updated: Sep. 14, 2020 at 1:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for trans-Pacific travelers will likely be extended beyond Oct. 1, the governor said Monday.

The news is another blow to businesses in Hawaii that rely on visitors.

Gov. David Ige acknowledged the economic pain the continued delay will have, but said it’s important to reopen right. He pledged to release a new timeline in the coming days.

Ige made the remarks during a Facebook Live interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, saying he met with tourism industry leaders over the weekend and “talked about what would be required to bring back visitors.”

For months, the governor has said he wants to institute a traveler pre-testing program that would allow visitors who test negative for COVID-19 before arriving to forgo the mandatory quarantine.

But that pre-testing program is still not ready to be launched.

And Ige said Monday that kicking off the pre-testing program and formally rebooting tourism are increasingly looking like two different dates because the visitor industry needs time to prepare.

The quarantine has slashed visitor arrivals to Hawaii — from thousands each day to several hundred.

The state has predicted that visitor arrivals to the islands will top out at 2.9 million by the end of the year. That’s down from more than 10 million in 2019.

Officials have also forecast a years-long recovery.

This story will be updated.

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