Hawaii has implemented a fully illegal vaccine passport system.
Governor Ige (Japanese name but he is Chinese, let that sink in) is at the lead.
BEFORE TRAVELING TO HAWAII PLEASE READ ABOUT OUR RUINED VACATION - AND DEFINITELY DON'T GET TESTED AT CVS! April 19, 2021
Kenneth S. Hara
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency
Dear Mr. Hara,
We are a married couple who, after being fully vaccinated in March, decided to finally make our way onto an airplane again after 14 months of lockdown. We decided to visit your beautiful state where we have had the pleasure of visiting countless times since the 80’s. We felt safe choosing Hawaii particularly in view of your state’s handling of the pandemic and the screening procedures implemented to minimize Covid risk to residents and visitors.
We prepared for the trip far in advance by reading the rules and guidelines set out by the Safe Travels Program. As our departure approached on April 13, we scheduled our covid tests together at 2pm on April 10 at the Hawaii State approved CVS Covid Test site at 101 Asbury Avenue in Evanston IL within the requisite 72 hours period before departure at 8:30 a.m. on April 13.
We received the negative result for Peter Tuthill’s test within 12 hours however Alex Prentzas’ results did not appear. With no test results by Sunday April 11 we finally reached a person at CVS who assured us the results would be sent prior to our departure.
On Monday April 12 there were still no results and we were unable to reach anyone at CVS – just a recording that there we no results yet. With our departure looming the following morning, we searched the area for other Hawaii-approved testing sites that could provide us with immediate results, however there were none that could do it so quickly.
We finally found a Physician’s Immediate care office with an onsite lab in our area that could conduct the same NAAT molecular test that CVS uses. On the evening of April 12, with no CVS test result for Alex, we went ahead and scheduled a NAAT test at the Physician’s Immediate Care at 6140 N. Broadway, Chicago IL. Within 20 minutes Alex received a negative result and printed statement affirming such, signed by the attending physician.
We boarded American Airlines flight 75 the morning of April 13 for Honolulu, knowing we were both negative, hoping that the CVS result for Alex would arrive en-route. Unfortunately that was not the case when we landed.
Upon arrival, instead of being greeted with the warm Aloha we had experienced so many times in the past, we were extremely dismayed and angered by the treatment we received by the state’s screening agent. We explained our dilemma at length to your staff who were processing our entry, providing proof that we were both tested at the same time by CVS (we had even showed our testing kit bags with time stamps) however she and her supervisor were not interested in hearing our story and categorically dismissed Alex Prentzas’ negative NAAT test result.
We understand and respect the fact that the Hawaiian government has established rules and regulations to curb the spread of this deadly virus. By selecting “trusted partners” to conduct testing, these partners – CVS in this case - in effect become adjunct representatives of your state’s government. However, when this particular partner failed to provide timely results, as it did in our case, there was no contingency in place or offer of an alternative (such as submitting to another NAAT Covid test in HNL). Rather, we were told rather curtly and rudely that our only alternative was to quarantine and stay locked up in a hotel room for 10 days. They also advised us that even if Alex's test results came through during our quarantine, we would need to finish the 10 days since the test results were not received prior to our departure.
With a deep sense of disappointment and frustration, we did exactly as your staff directed and secured a room at the airport hotel for one night at our own expense. We further followed your staff’s instructions by not leaving the room for the duration of our stay. After one night feeling like prisoners in that hotel, we returned back to Chicago on AA flight 74 on April 14 at enormous expense (both monetary and emotional). The only Aloha spirit we received during our short stay was from our Airbnb host who graciously refunded our booking.
In our situation, the state of Hawaii placed the onus of responsibility for the failure of its trusted Covid testing partner entirely on our shoulders. We therefore feel compelled to warn future travelers of this unfortunate position, since no one should have to go through the ordeal that we went through.
We are also in communication with CVS and their representative has advised us that our complaint is being “escalated”. Incidentally, the first communication we had from CVS regarding Alex’s test indicated it was inconclusive and sent on Thursday, April 15 – 5 days after the test was conducted.
As a state that largely relies on tourism, we encourage your office to consider contingencies and offer solutions for future visitors who may find themselves in the unfortunate situation we found ourselves in, through no fault of our own.