Dreaming of surf, sand, and fun in the sun?
While sipping on a refreshing cocktail in the tropics might sound enticing, the Canadian government advises you to think twice before booking a ticket to paradise. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments that have opened their borders to tourists could impose strict travel restrictions suddenly, which could make it difficult for you to return home.
That said, a recent update to a travel advisory just a little bit easier to visit the Aloha state on your next holiday.
On Sept. 16, Hawaiian Governor David Ige declared that the state’s pre-travel testing program will launch on Oct. 15, which will allow trans-Pacific travellers to visit the island state without quarantining upon arrival. They need to get the test prior to their arrival and show proof of a negative test no more than 72 hours in advance of travel.
The test must also be a nucleic acid amplification test or NAAT test conducted at a CLIA-certified laboratory.
A statement from Hawaii's Department of Transportation states that "Evidence of a negative test result must be provided upon arrival in Hawaii. Without this, passengers arriving from out-of-state will be subject to the 14-day quarantine. Travellers will be responsible for the cost of the pre-travel test. No testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport."
Travellers also will have their temperatures checked upon arrival and must fill out a travel and health form.
Canadians returning from Hawaii will still have to quarantine for 14-days when they return home.
Originally, the program was slated to begin Aug. 1, but a spike in COVID-19 cases prompted the state to delay the launch date.
Hawaiian Airlines has started to increase the number of flights to the islands in preparation for the new program.
And while many travellers are excited to return to the island paradise without the mandatory quarantine, a number of critics worry that the pre-testing program will lead to a spike in cases.
Honolulu Civil Beat spoke to Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who says the state is launching the program out of necessity, adding: "Green said he anticipates Hawaii will see between 8,000 and 10,000 daily trans-Pacific arrivals by the end of 2020, up from an average of several hundred arrivals per day since the onset of the pandemic."
While Canadians are not forbidden from travelling to the United States, the Government strongly urges them to avoid non-essential travel outside the country until further notice.
Additionally, Health Canada does not advise you to get a COVID-19 test if you do not have symptoms of the virus. Since a negative result is required for the Hawaiian pre-testing program, this would go against public health advice.
Under a measure from the Government of British Columbia, all arriving passengers from outside Canada, regardless of their final destination, are required to submit a self-isolation plan. Learn more about the Province's self-isolation plan requirement here. The plan can be submitted online here or at the Self-Assessment Tool, through the BC COVID-19 Support App, or in-person on arrival at YVR. It must show that returning passengers have supports in place to safely self-isolate for 14 days.