Hawaii has had a strict quarantine requirement for visitors since March. Any travelers to the island state are required to quarantine in their hotel or home for 14 days after arrival.
But the state is aiming to lift those restrictions soon.
“The state of Hawaii now is implementing a system by which a negative COVID test would alleviate the need for quarantine,” said Andrew Watterson, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer with Southwest Airlines.
This would mean that visitors who get a negative test result soon before arriving in Hawaii do not have to quarantine.
“There’s been hopes that it would have been done by September but that didn’t come through,” said Watterson, because of a surge that hit the state in August. “So October is now the working date when that might roll out.”
The change in policy would depend on conditions in Hawaii, so it could be delayed yet again.
Watterson says understandably, demand for air travel decreases as cases surge, but passengers should feel relatively comfortable if they do need to fly.
“An airplane is actually one of the safer places you’ll be,” he said, because the air is exchanged every two to three minutes with outdoor air, “which is far more than if you’re inside of a building somewhere.”
Some air is recirculated but HEPA filters are used onboard, and face coverings are required.