Hawaii has arguably been one of the most restrictive states in allowing (or rather, not allowing) people to visit, in an attempt to keep its COVID-19 cases as low a possible. Its Governor, David Ige, initially wouldn’t allow residents to go from island to island. That eventually ended, but has now been partially put back into place, due to an uptick in cases on the island of Oahu.
Gov. Ige has put off reopening the state, month by month, while trying to figure out the best way to eventually allow visitors in, while keeping the state’s residents safe. This is just as well to most Hawaiians, who don’t really want tourists back right now.
In an attempt to keep everyone safe, several ideas have been put on the table and/or tried over the past few months:
- Spend $36 million on airport temperature checks
- Locking people out of their hotels if they break quarantine
- Arresting and “deporting” those who broke quarantine
- Considered “resort bubbles” for those in quarantine
- Have “air bridges” with only specific places they deem to be safe
- Have a group of officials dedicated to following up with those in quarantine, to ensure they stay in quarantine
That last one seems to be working well for the state. Those who arrived in Hawaii were required to fill out a paper form upon arrival and then they’d be followed up by the officials, either by text message, phone call, or personal visit, during their 14-day quarantine.
Unfortunately, tourists found the paper form confusing and it’s been unpopular with those who had to process the forms, since they’d have to manually enter each person’s responses into the electronic system.
To make the process easier on everyone, the state has now added an app, called Safe Travels Hawai’i. It takes the place of the paper forms and is a mandatory requirement for those flying into Hawaii.
From Honolulu Star Advertiser:
Here’s how it works: A traveler completes an online application and receives a QR code (like a square bar code). The screener, a person at the airport who uses an iPad to read the QR code, is then able to quickly review passenger information for clearance or secondary screening.
Visitors may use email, Google or Facebook logins to visit the app, which is built on a Google cloud. The state says that travelers without smartphones or computers may ask friends or family for assistance or receive assistance at the arrival airport. Those without email addresses will need to create one to comply with quarantine requirements.
Once a traveler’s information is loaded, officials, including the police, can check on visitors as they do their 14-day quarantine. The app can automatically send check-in reminders as text messages or emails, and it will also make it easier for the Hawaiian Board of Health to reach out if there are any medical issues to address.
“I am pleased to launch this digital app which will allow our travelers to provide their required health and travel information before they arrive at the airport,” Gov. David Ige said Friday in a statement. “It will also help us keep in contact with those who are required to be in quarantine. This is an important step in preparing to reopen our economy.”
Here’s a video with more information about the new system:
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary