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WestJet, Air Canada reach deal to avoid COVID-19 quarantine in Hawaii

Waikiki beach in Hawaii. (via Getty Images)

As British Columbians adjust to the sweeping new restrictions announced by B.C. health officials on Thursday, an escape plan has presented itself thanks to two of Canada's largest airlines.

WestJet and Air Canada have signed an agreement with the state of Hawaii which will allow guests travelling to the islands a way to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine in the U.S. state.

The workaround is possible because the airlines are offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for passengers.

If travellers receive a negative test within a 72-hour window prior to departure, Hawaii will allow passengers to disembark without the need to quarantine.

"Safety remains our number one priority and we thank Governor Ige and the State of Hawaii for providing this opportunity for Canadians to enjoy all that the islands have to offer while safely supporting the tourism industry," said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet chief commercial officer.

"WestJet's teams are working hard to rebuild confidence in air travel through important partnerships like this one with Hawaii's Trusted Travel Partner program and DynaLIFE. With pre-departure and arrivals testing now available through the collaborative efforts of the Governments of Canada, the Government of Alberta and the YYC Calgary International Airport, our guests have a wonderful opportunity to enjoy safe and enjoyable travel without the rigorous quarantine requirements."

Even though the Canada U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travel, there is no such prohibition for air travellers, assuming they follow public health regulations in the state or province where they land.

Canadians will, however, still be required to self-isolate for two weeks upon return to Canada.