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Hawaii and Alaska visitors face strict 14-day quarantine upon arrival

Hawaii
Hawaiian Airlines will temporarily suspend most flights between the islands and the U.S. mainland starting Thursday.
(Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority)

Amid the spread of the novel coronavirus to all 50 states, Governors in Hawaii and Alaska ordered a strict quarantine for arriving passengers. Anyone flying to the islands or to Alaska will have to quarantine at home or at their hotel for 14 days.

Also, Hawaiian Airlines will suspend all but one flight between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii beginning Thursday.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska ordered the self-quarantine that went into effect Wednesday for residents, workers and travelers.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige ordered the strict airline passenger quarantine Saturday.

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Visitors must quarantine in their hotel rooms or other lodging. “You can only leave your designated quarantine location for medical emergencies or to seek medical care,” the order said.

“With the majority of Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases linked to travel, it is critical that we further mitigate the spread of the virus by both residents and visitors who are coming from out-of-state,” he said in his order.

As of Sunday, the Hawaii Department of Health reported 56 confirmed cases of Covid-19, up 19 from the 37 cases reported two days earlier. Of those 37, spokeswoman Janice Okubo told Hawaii News Now , “32 of them are the result of traveling residents.”

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To get Hawaii residents and vacationers back to their homes, Hawaiian Airlines said it would continue all regularly scheduled service through Wednesday. Passengers who cancel travel may receive a voucher for future travel good for up to one year from the date of purchase.

The airline will operate a reduced, inter-island schedule, as well as once-daily flights between Los Angeles and Honolulu and once-weekly flights between American Samoa and Honolulu. The changes, however, were not reflected on the airline’s reservation page by midmorning on Monday.

United Airlines is continuing flights between LAX and Honolulu, but has suspended flights between LAX and Kahului (Maui), Kona (Island of Hawaii) and Lihue (Kauai). Those destinations are still served on flights to and from San Francisco (SFO) and Denver (DEN).

Southwest Airlines, which flies to Hawaii directly from Northern California airports, said Monday the company has not yet adjusted schedules. An email from the airline Monday said: “Southwest is working through the details, and will be ready to support new protocols required of our customers and employees arriving in Hawaii as the state’s new mandate takes effect later this week.”

OAG, a website that tracks airline statistics, on Monday reported that airline capacity has dropped 23% over the past week. “In one week some 21 million seats were dropped around the globe as the industry fights its own battle for survival,” the report said. It added that there are now 37 million fewer seats available than 10 weeks ago.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is telling travelers to stay away too.

“While we’ve always welcomed people to Hawaii with open arms, health and safety is our first priority,” a statement posted on Facebook said. “So it’s with a heavy heart that we’re advising travelers not to visit the Hawaiian Islands at this time. [The governor] has asked that all trips be postponed for 30 days, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”


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