Unclear COVID-19 travel requirement forces Round Rock couple to cancel trip to Hawaii 1 day before flight


ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A couple from Round Rock who’s been counting down the days until their Hawaiian vacation just found out they can’t go.

James and his wife Marguerite Ayers said they were supposed to fly out to Hawaii Tuesday morning after months of planning the much-needed vacation.

With the help of a travel agent, Ayers said they followed all COVID-19 pre-travel protocols — or so they thought.

The couple said they got a negative COVID-19 test from a doctor at Austin Regional Clinic within 72 hours prior to traveling, per the State of Hawaii’s policy.

“They didn’t tell us ‘you can’t use your regular doctor, even though he’s a licensed provider,'” Ayers said.

When they went to upload their documents as proof through travel.hawaii.gov, their information was rejected. According to the Ayers, they were told they had to get a negative test from a Hawaii-approved partner.

Ayers said most partners on the approved list aren’t in the Austin area. But Walgreens and CVS are. However, when they went there, Ayers said they were told neither place could get them the results back sooner than two to three days. That was detrimental for the pair, as they were set to fly out the morning of May 25.

So they drove to Temple for a place they said was on the list, but the website wouldn’t accept tests from there when they tried to upload them.

“One website shows ‘CareNow is on the list,’ but when you go to upload results, it’s not on the list,” Ayers said.

The two feel like there’s been no clarity during the entire process. Both said they couldn’t get answers from anyone in Hawaii when they tried to get help.

“We’ve both been in tears, we’ve both been upset about it,” Ayers said. “We’ve planned this for a long time.”

Thankfully, the Ayers didn’t pack their bags for no reason and will be able to go to Cancún. They said their travel agent helped them re-plan a new trip in less than 24 hours, and they’ll still leave on Tuesday morning.

The couple just doesn’t want this stressful experience to happen to anyone else.

“You got to do it yourself, because none of those people are going to help you,” Ayers said.

Ayers said they also found out they had to set up a COVID test in advance to travel between islands in Hawaii the night before they were set to go.

KXAN did speak to their travel agent, who said everyone should do their best to research their destination’s COVID-19 travel policies.

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