Local politicians and business owners criticize Hawaii’s new COVID-19 pre-travel policy

Last week, Hawaii Gov. David Ige tightened the state’s COVID-19 pre-travel plans, requiring all travelers to have a confirmed negative coronavirus test before arriving in the island nation.

The previous policy allowed travelers who had not been tested to quarantine until their test results came back. Under the new policy, travelers must show proof of a negative coronavirus test. Otherwise, they will be quarantined for two weeks, even if test results come back negative.

The policy change has upset local politicians and business owners, including Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat. Some critics cite the island’s low infection rate of visitors and its recovering economy as reason enough to stick to the original policy.

“This doesn’t serve the public very well,” Saiki said in a bi-monthly meeting this past Monday of the Hawaii House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness.

Mufi Hannemann, the former Honolulu mayor who now heads the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, said the tourism industry group had grave concerns. Hannemann alleged Ige’s administration had not consulted any of them in their decision making.

Following criticism, Ige released a statement on Monday saying the policy change was meant to protect the island’s residents and to prepare for an upcoming holiday season that was likely to see a greater number of travelers.

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