After three months of encouraging tourists to stay away from Hawaii, the US state will begin easing its mandatory quarantine on August 1.
“Now is the time to work together as a community to ensure that our residents and local businesses can safely return to a larger volume of travelers,” Gov. David Ige said in a news conference Wednesday.
Currently, anyone travelling into Hawaii from out of state must self-quarantine for 14 days. But the new program will allow visitors to avoid that quarantine as long as they test negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of their arrival.
It comes as Hawaii faces a legal challenge claiming the quarantine is unconstitutional because it targets out-of-state residents.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said it’s critical to his community’s economy to get tourism back on track. “We need to return to welcoming visitors to our shores,” said Caldwell.
State Health Director Bruce Anderson says the state is in good shape to prepare for reopening, as he believes most residents have been following social distancing recommendations.
“There are not many knuckleheads around that I can see,” Anderson said.