"The first flight that came in, which was 123 people passed here in about 30 minutes. There was no conflict. A few people who had not known that we had a quarantine still in effect, understood when it was explained to them that there was a test that they should have gotten if they wanted to avoid quarantine. But they accepted it."
5. Plane approaching airport
6.. SOUNDBITE (English) Hawaii Gov. David Ige, (D) Hawaii:
"We've all had to learn to live with COVID- 19. I do believe that this is an important milestone for all of us as we move forward in reviving our economy."
7. Wide of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
8 SOUNDBITE (English) Julie Avery, California traveler from Modesto:
"And open the test in front of them and then spit in the tube. And you do through Zoom, a Zoom meeting. They watch you. And then you seal it up and mail it off and that was gone the next day and got the results the next day so it's fairly fast."
9. Hawaiian Airlines planes at airport terminal
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Julie Avery, California traveler from Modesto:
"I feel pretty safe. I do feel pretty safe I know everybody, they're testing our temperature. I feel pretty safe about it."
13. Waikiki Beach with hotels
14. Honolulu resident Yenlinh Tran in water with dog
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Yenlinh Tran, 22-year Honolulu resident who works in tourism industry:
"I think it's a good thing for the state, we needed this. I work in the tourism industry and we need customer. We need tourists."
16. Surfer walks on rocks near water
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Yenlinh Tran, 22-year Honolulu resident who works in tourism industry:
"I am worried about it. But I just hope that, you know, we have a balance and that we all wear masks and we, you know, we keep our distance at least."
Thousands of travelers are arriving in Hawaii following the launch of pre-travel COVID-19 testing program that allows travelers to come to the islands without quarantining for two weeks if they could produce a negative coronavirus test.
The new testing program launched this week is an effort to stem the devastating downturn the pandemic has had on Hawaii's tourism-based economy. Officials had touted the mandatory quarantine rule as an integral part of Hawaii's early success in keeping the coronavirus at bay.
But gaps in the pre-travel testing program coupled with increasing cases of COVID-19 across the U.S. have raised questions about whether Hawaii is ready to safely welcome back vacationers.
And when local restrictions were eased before summertime holidays, community spread of the disease spiked to alarming levels, forcing a second round of stay-at-home orders for residents and closures for non-essential businesses.
Opponents of the testing program have said a single test 72 hours before arrival - especially when coupled with the option to fly without a test and still quarantine - is not enough to keep island residents safe.
Hawaii's economy is almost entirely built around tourism, and local families who rely on the sector to survive need to return to work.
More than 100 of Hawaii's approximately 4,000 restaurants, bakeries and caterers have closed permanently and more than 50% predict they will not survive the coming months, officials have said.
Hawaii, which has about 1.4 million residents, reported 10 additional coronavirus deaths and more than 100 newly confirmed cases on Wednesday. On Oahu, home to the famed Waikiki Beach and the state's most populated island, the positivity rate was nearly 4%.
County mayors have criticized the state's plan for a single test prior to flying and want a mandatory second test for all arriving passengers.
The governor said this week that mayors could implement certain secondary testing measures on their respective islands, but the cost and logistics of running such programs would be left to the counties.
Maui and Kauai counties decided on voluntary secondary testing for visitors. The Big Island will require secondary rapid screening upon arrival for visitors to avoid quarantine. Oahu officials have said they want to put in place another layer of screening but do not yet have the testing capacity.
The mixed bag of county and state rules could create chaos for vacationers who have not properly prepared for the various screening requirements, especially those traveling to the Big Island.
People who test positive in the state, whether on vacation or at home, are required to isolate and cannot fly until they no longer have the virus.