GR US

Hawaii to Wait to Waive Quarantine Requirement

Αssociated Press

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020, file photo, Hawaii Gov. David Ige speaks to reporters at the state Department of Health s laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File)

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s governor says he will wait another month to waive a 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers who test negative for COVID-19, citing an increasing number of cases locally, “uncontrolled” outbreaks in several U.S. mainland states and a shortage of testing supplies.

The testing plan, as announced last month, was scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1. It's now postponed to Sept. 1.

Many in Hawaii’s business community had been looking forward to the plan as it would make it easier for tourists to visit and potentially boost the economy. The quarantine requirement has virtually shut down tourism since it took effect in late March. Hotels have closed and the unemployment rate stands at 22.6%, the second highest in the U.S.

“I know that this increases the burden on businesses here in the islands, especially small businesses. But we do believe that it is time to continue to protect the health and safety of our community,” Gov. David Ige said at a news conference.

Hawaii reported 23 new cases on Monday for a cumulative total of 1,243. It has one of the lowest infection rates in the U.S.