Gov. David Ige joined the COVID-19 Care Conversation to provide updates on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ige said that he plans to make an announcement this week with regard to new processes for trans-Pacific travel. While he did not share details, he did say that the new process will include pre-testing travelers prior to arrival in Hawaii. Ige said state officials have learned a lot from Alaska, which reopened borders and began waiving its two-week quarantine requirement on June 5 for arriving travellers who provide proof they have tested negative for COVID-19 72 hours prior.
Ige believes Hawaii can benefit from the lessons learned from Alaska. “We will be incorporating the parts that we think will work in Hawaii,” he said.
The state plans to direct existing transient accommodations revenues to the state’s new travel program to help pay for the screening processes and other health monitoring that will be required in order to reopen trans-Pacific travel. While a separate traveler tax or fee is an idea he is still interested in, Ige said, “It’s a lot more complicated than others would imagine.”
With regard to unemployment, Ige said that the state unemployment office has decreased the claim backlog to less than 15,000 unprocessed claims. He also shared that when the federal unemployment support expires on July 31, the state will begin issuing $100 a week in unemployment benefits to unemployed residents.
The Governor thanked the community for the support and reminded residents that “this is a marathon.” He said that as the economy reopens, everyone needs to take personal responsibility in honoring physical distancing, wearing masks, and staying home when sick. “Do the things that help our community,” he said.
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Join the COVID-19 Care Conversation, live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji will discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.
The COVID-19 Care Conversation, sponsored by Hawai’i Executive Collaborative and Hawaii Pacific Health, airs live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.