Citing public health concerns, city councilman pushes for additional traveler testing

With less than 10 days before the state plans to relaunch trans-Pacific travel, a Honolulu councilman is introducing a resolution, pushing back against the pre-
Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 8:49 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With less than 10 days before the state plans to relaunch trans-Pacific travel, a city councilman is introducing a resolution Wednesday, pushing back against the pre-travel testing program.

Councilman Tommy Waters wants a plan that requires travelers to take a second COVID-19 test or to postpone the reopening of the state.

Even though he represents Waikiki, the heart of the state’s tourism industry, he said he’s concerned that infected travelers could pose a risk to public health.

“I’m doing this to make sure our ohanas are safe, our families are safe because this is a deadly virus,” Waters said, adding that he’s worried about the first responders who have been working tirelessly in the fight against COVID-19.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who’s spearheading the travel plan, is against a second test because he said it would discourage visitors from coming to Hawaii because they might have to spend days in the hotel waiting for their results.

But Waters cited the surge COVID-19 testing on Oahu last month, saying residents jumped on the opportunity to get tested.

“People want to know that they’re clean, they want to know that they’re safe. Of course people are going to take the test. And get this, if they don’t want to take the test, that’s not the people who we want visiting here,” Waters said. “If you’re not willing to take a second test, stay home.”

Waters' resolution comes as Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim said he plans to opt out of the state’s pre-travel testing program, and Maui and Kauai appeared to be considering the same.

For weeks, Neighbor Island mayors have been vocalizing concerns with the state’s pre-travel testing plans, saying they want incoming travelers to take two tests — one before arriving and one several days after landing.

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