Thermal screening will be required at the airport for all interisland passengers Tuesday when the 14-day interisland quarantine is lifted, and anyone with a fever of 100.4 or greater will be denied boarding.
The testing, announced Wednesday by Gov. David Ige, is part of a new airport screening process designed to replace the 14-day quarantine for interisland travelers established three months ago to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The state is ready,” Ige declared at a state Capitol news conference. “We’ve been working very diligently to prepare for this opportunity.”
But trans-Pacific travel will have to wait. Ige said the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state passengers would be extended until July 31.
As for interisland flights, Ige warned travelers to be patient and arrive early.
Passengers will be asked to fill out a mandatory form that contains health screening questions and asks for information to allow for contact tracing if necessary. The form is required for all interisland flights, even those taken on the same day.
A new website will be set up in the next few days with access to the form and other information interisland travelers will need, officials said.
Based on the information on the form and the results of the temperature screening, air travelers may be asked to take a COVID-19 test.
“This is an important moment for testing out a system that is going to be with us for the near future,” state Attorney General Clare Connors said.
State Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said his department has already arranged for a handful of companies to install temperature screening and facial recognition cameras at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu next week in a pilot program.
DOT officials, he said, will see how each system works in real time and study how they function before the companies submit their final proposals by June 26. A final selection will be made within a week, he said.
Sakahara said the department is aiming to have thermal scanners installed at airport gates now being used for arriving trans-Pacific flights statewide by mid-July. The thermal scanners will be installed at all gates by July 31, and the facial recognition equipment will be in place by Dec. 31.
Additionally, the department is rearranging gates to help separate arriving and departing passengers, he said.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Health reported four new coronavirus cases, pushing the statewide total to 685. (Officials removed one case after a retest came back negative.)
All four of the new cases are on Oahu, three of them children from a household with an adult case.
The recent uptick in daily cases is nothing to worry about, according to state Health Director Bruce Anderson. He said they represent small clusters that are going to happen from time to time as the state continues to open up.
“I would expect we’re going to see a situation much as we’ve had in the last few days with a handful of cases. And that’s something we can handle,” Anderson said.
In officially ending the two-week interisland travel quarantine, Ige signed the ninth emergency proclamation relating to COVID-19.
The proclamation also establishes criminal liability for hosts of guests who violate quarantine requirements or owners of cars that are rented to quarantine violators. It also extends the moratorium on evicting renters through July 31.