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Educating travelers will be important as Maui reopens

By Staff | Oct 15, 2020

We are glad to see the County of Maui moving forward with the pre-travel testing program that starts on Thursday, Oct. 15.

Although recovery will be slow, limited tourism and the return of Maui timeshare and condominium owners will have a positive impact on West Side businesses.

Hawaii’s program requires passengers five and older to take a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified laboratory within 72 hours from the final leg of departure and produce a negative result in order to avoid the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine, among other mandates.

Similar to a strategy from French Polynesia — which has been open to international travelers since July 15 — Mayor Michael Victorino asked the state if Maui County could also implement a mandatory post-arrival test for transpacific travelers starting Oct. 15.

His request was denied by the governor.

Victorino explained, “The state has made it clear that they want to move forward with the pre-travel testing program without the second test.

“Many of our businesses and working families are struggling, so we are moving forward with the transpacific program. However, we need to do everything we can to protect our citizens, healthcare resources and especially high-risk populations. We look forward to learning more from the state on the development of its contact tracing app and surveillance testing plan for travelers.” It’s a good idea, so Victorino seeks support from the governor, visitor industry and businesses to urge transpacific travelers to voluntarily take a second test after they arrive in Maui County.

If it’s easy and convenient — free and onsite at the resort — travelers might take the second voluntary test.

It will be important for Maui’s tourism industry to educate visitors — with information everywhere in sight — to help guard against the spread of COVID-19.

After being stalled for six months, Maui’s tourism industry needs to reopen. The slow return of travelers will help businesses and resorts re-train employees and put protective measures in place.