Lawmakers explore the idea of unifying pre-travel rules across the counties

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Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 10:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A proposal that would force all counties to follow the same pre-travel testing rules is moving forward despite objections of some neighbor island and republican lawmakers.

Kauai leaders pushed to keep their own rules in a House Public Hearing on Tuesday. Early on in the pandemic, leaders argued that each county faced its own set of challenges therefore leading to varying rules between counties.

I very humbly ask that you please do not disempower the counties,” said Kauai Councilwoman, Felicia Cowden. “I think it will remove our safe harbor.”

Transpacific travelers to the Garden Isle can choose to quarantine for three days at an approved resort bubble then after three days, if they test negative again, they’re allowed to leave.

Dr. J. Wayne Burris, medical director, and founder of Poipu Mobile MD conducts COVID tests at majority of the resort bubbles and said he notices travelers taking advantage of Kauai’s testing program.

“I think with three days they see it as reasonable,” said Burris. “It’s actually they can get over their jet lag, hang out at the pool, relax and then after that, get out and visit the island safely.”

The proposal would also offer tests upon arrival for those who didn’t get their pre-flight results in time instead of forcing them into a 10-day quarantine.

Business groups strongly support the bill.

“Many of our members have had issues traveling interisland for work and believe this measure would help to clarify the situation,” said Lauren Zirbel, executive director of the Hawaii Food Industry Association.

“It will bring us together in a comprehensive coordinated way so it’s not as confusing so it provides more incentives for people to want to come here,” said Mufi Hanneman, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.

The plan still needs approval of both houses.

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