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Hawaiian Airlines customers residing on the U.S. mainland will soon be able to use exclusive access to drive-through PCR testing prior to heading down to the islands.

Hawaii will be relaxing the mandatory 14-day quarantine policy as of Thursday, October 15, 2020, allowing travelers to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test instead.

Hawaii has originally scheduled their quarantine requirement to end effective September 1, 2020 provided the traveler can provide a valid negative test taken within 72 hr prior to arrival but this plan has now been scrapped for several times in a row with October 15th being the latest date.

Hawaiian Airlines is now undertaking an effort in order to do their part in luring tourists back to Hawaii and will partner with local labs to provide drive through tests in order to satisfy the test requirement to escape the quarantine in Hawaii.

You can read their press release here where they outline the details about it.

Hawaiian Airlines is making it easy for travelers to finally take a long-awaited Hawai‘i vacation with convenient drive-through COVID-19 tests in select U.S. mainland gateways that will allow guests to bypass the state of Hawai‘i quarantine and begin enjoying the islands from the moment they arrive.

Hawaiian’s partnership with Worksite Labs will give guests exclusive access to drive-through PCR testing ($90 for results within 36 hours, or $150 for day-of-travel express service) from dedicated, conveniently located labs. Hawai‘i’s hometown carrier expects to start offering the Droplet Digital PCR shallow nasal swab tests – a “gold standard” COVID-19 screening that meets state of Hawai‘i guidelines – around Oct. 15, when travelers who test negative within 72 hours of departure will be exempt from Hawai‘i’s 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

Hawaiian’s initial labs will be operational near Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) international airports, with more testing locations coming soon at its other U.S. mainland gateways. …

In addition to offering its guests convenient testing, Hawaiian has implemented a comprehensive health and safety program covering all aspects of their journey.

Starting at check-in, guests must complete a health acknowledgment form indicating they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and will wear an adequate face mask or covering at the airport and during the flight. Guests 2 years of age and older who are unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a medical condition or disability must undergo a health screening to board. …

All travelers arriving in Hawai‘i or flying between the islands must now also complete the state’s online Safe Travels Hawai‘i form.

Worksite Labs website currently states that they are in a preparation phase and there are currently no appointments available yet.

We are not taking appointments for testing at this time. The state of Hawaii’s pre-testing program begins October 15th. The test scheduling portal will be made available by that date. Please check back prior to your departure date to schedule an appointment.

They do provide a graphic how their process works:

The verification will be in the form of a QR code on the app or in an email assuming this is an accepted method of providing the result. Some other countries destinations might very well require a real paper certificate with a stamp or signature.

There are now several testing options available all over the world including at clinic, quick test points and airport makeshift testing centers and the cost varies extensively.

In the meanwhile the development of new testing options is accelerating. Abbott Laboratories has developed a 15-minute test called Binax NOW that could come at a cost as low as US$5 a piece just for detection.

This is a different test from the initial ID Now test that was presented in spring and which as it turned out produced a lot of false results.

This test has also been presented in a White House press event back then and the U.S. government gave out a contract to mass produce the new test (not the old one with the errors).

We’re now 6 months into this horror show with Covid-19 and there has been a lot of scientific advance both in researching the disease itself and also the technology surrounding it. The efforts by the scientific community can only be applauded considering the progress that has been made. Hopefully a vaccine follows soon for those that are looking forward to it, although that won’t provide a total safety net either.

Conclusion

Good for Hawaiian Airlines that they have taken the initiative here to be a pioneer and get the first foot in the door as Hawaii travel (hopefully) resumes in three weeks time.

I don’t think there will be a shortage of people from the mainland to fly down to the islands. So far the health regulations have kept people away from going. I’m sure once we have mid October plenty of flights will be booked to capacity with people yearning for some beach time again.

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