Since the world turned upside down, planning a vacation to Hawaii has proven to be a challenge. For several months, the only way to enter Hawaii was with a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Then, a reopening date with an option to test before travel to avoid the quarantine became the norm as the islands battled a COVID-19 surge.
Hawaii finally introduced a pre-travel testing option in mid-October. By December, the quarantine period in Hawaii for travelers who did not use the pre-arrival testing option was reduced from 14 to 10 days, following the adjusted CDC guidance. Then, the islands began to introduce their own policies about reopening. Maui, for example, has just changed its requirements for travelers (more on that below). As of April 15, so has the Island of Hawai’i, which has begun to phase out its second test requirement.
But now, it appears that Hawaii is close to exempting fully vaccinated travelers from having to quarantine and there are reports that Hawaii will soon announce a system for allowing vaccinated travelers to travel to and around Hawaii freely. It’s a lot of information to keep track of and it changes often. So, here’s the latest about traveling to the Aloha State right now and what you need to prepare for a successful trip.
Hawaii has pushed back its timeline for a vaccine passport. The initial date was May 1st, but now it could be mid May for interisland travel and late June for mainland travelers. On April 12th, Lt. Gov. Josh Green recommended that vaccinated travelers skip testing and quaranitne requirements. The state’s pre-travel testing program requires all visitors to take a PCR test from an approved testing partner within 72 hours and obtain results before departure to Hawaii. That’s the only way to bypass the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine.
More Testing is Now Required for Maui
Travelers to Hawaii already need to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter, but Maui is adding an additional layer of testing. Travelers to Maui are now required to take a second Covid test upon arrival. Travelers will not have to pay out-of-pocket costs for the additional test.
Hawaii Island (Big Island)
Travelers to the Big Island who participate in the state's pre-arrival testing program can avoid a mandatory 10 day quarantine. On April 16th, the island started the first phase of moving away from the additional layer of testing. This phase applies to people who have proof of a negative test, and also have the hard copy of their CDC vaccination card.
Kauai initially opted out of the state's pre-travel testing initiative and established its own rules for entry. Travelers could either spend at least 72 hours on another island before traveling to Kauai, where they would have to take a test from one of the island's testing partners or participate in the "resort bubble" system, which allows visitors to take a test before entering the state of Hawaii and then spend at least three days at an approved resort before being able to test out of quarantine.
Travelers to Maui are now required to take a second Covid rapid test upon arrival, which is provided at no cost. Visitors will also be required to participate in mandatory contact tracing by downloading an app on their phone. Children under the age of 5 do not have to have a negative test if traveling with parents who have a negative result.
A second test is not required for travelers to Oahu.
What Do You Need to Qualify for Pre-Arrival Testing?
If you decide to travel to Hawaii, you'll need to register with Hawaii's Safe Travels system. This needs to be done at least 72 hours before arrival. Additionally, travelers arriving in Hawaii will have their temperatures checked upon arrival and must fill out a travel and health form. Travelers who don't have proof a a negative test must quarantine for 10 days.
In Addition to Testing Requirement
Upon arrival, travelers must comply with all social distancing and mask requirements during travel, including the flight. All visitors must pass the temperature checks and facial-imaging technology upon arrival and produce the Safe Travels QR code to local officials at the airport.
How Does Mandatory Quarantine Work?
If you choose not to participate in the Safe Travels program, travelers are not allowed to leave their personal quarantine space, such as a hotel room, unless they seek medical care. All public spaces, including pools, fitness centers, and restaurants are off-limits during this period. Visitors are also not allowed unless they are health care professionals specifically checking on their health. Anyone who intentionally or knowingly breaks quarantine can be convicted of a misdemanor, and tourists have been arrested for breaking quarantine.
Multiple airlines have developed testing systems available to travelers flying to Hawaii from certain hub airports or via an at home kit. If your family plans to join the tousands of visitors coming to Hawaii right now without having to quarantine, be sure to triple-check your documents, deadlines, and test requirements. It would also be helpful to familiarize yourself with airline, hotel, and other travel cancellation policies just in case something doesn't go as planned. If you have questions, feel free to contact Vacations256 for guidance!