Hawaii has been sealed off tight from tourists to protect the vulnerable local population from Covid19 since the coronavirus pandemic emerged earlier this year.
With a staggering loss of tourism dollars, Hawaii has suffered greatly. With months to prepare, the island believes they are well-equipped to handle visitors once again starting October 15, 2020.
Here, then is what to expect:
Mandatory 14 Day Isolation Lifted
First of all is the mandatory 14-day quarantine. If you happened to have travelled to Hawaii on essential service, you had to remain isolated for 14 days. That quarantine has now been lifted for all visitors starting October 15. You no longer need to sit alone in a hotel room isolated.
Covid19 Negative Test Documents
To enter Hawaii you will need to present an official negative test result within 72 hours of your flight. For many travelers coming from the US and Canada this is near impossible, as testing centers across both countries have had long lines, some of which last days. The other issue is the type of test conducted and the quality of the test. Some tests have been able to produce false positives and false negatives. The accuracy has been questioned considerably with certain tests. You must present official documentation from a Hawaii State Approved Testing Center. But where are they? How do you find one? We are still unsure, but they do list CVS and Kaiser Permamente as partners, although you need to be a member of each. However, if you take the wrong test, it is back to the 14 day isolation in your hotel room.
Children and Covid19 Tests
CVS, for example, does not test children under the age of 12. As a result, Hawaii is negotiating with a company called Vault to preform saliva tests for children under 12 but it has not been implemented as of this date of publication.
No Testing in Hawaii
Currently, there is no onsite testing once you land in Hawaii.
Antibody Tests will not be accepted.
In some incidents, in order to get tested for Covid19 you require a doctor's order. Please check with your local authorities.
The test comes at a cost to the traveller. This can range from $90 to $400 depending on the test and laboratory testing procedure.
On Flight Questionnaire
You will be required to fill out paperwork on your flight from The Hawaii State Dept. of Agriculture that asks specific questions about your health related to Covid19.
At the Airport
When you land in Hawaii you will be screened via a handheld temperature check. These have been known to be unreliable, but, if you trigger the device with a temperature of 100.4 or higher you are sent to secondary screening where health officials will monitor your temperature for 30-60 minutes. If you exceed 100.4 here, you are then sent to quarantine for 14 days.
Safe Travels Digital System
You must upload your negative test results beforehand to the Safe Travels Digital System. If you cannot, a photo will be taken of your hard copy negative test results and uploaded into the system at the airport.
Rapid Tests At Your Departure Gate
As this new system of health security is put in place large airports such as LAX in Los Angeles are ramping up a rapid test center were you can get a quick 15 minute saliva or front nasal test for Covid19. Hawaii says they will accept this test result, but it still is not implemented in their documentation. These tests are being conducted and operated with specific airlines making it even more confusing.
Refusal of Testing
If you refuse testing you can still fly into Hawaii, but you will need to remain isolated for 14 days in quarantine. If you refuse to isolate, you will be asked to make immediate travel out of the State. If you do quarantine for 14 days there are restrictions on which hotels and motels you can stay at. You cannot be at a vacation rental property and you cannot rent a vehicle. There is a $5000 fine for those breaking the 14 day quarantine with up to one year imprisonment.
Safe Travels Program
As of September 1, all visitors must pre-screen online with documentation and questions answered. Travelers are encouraged to enter their information and trip details well in advance of their flight. Once their health information is entered 24 hours before departure, travelers receive a QR code via email. The QR code on their mobile device OR printed on paper gets scanned by the airport screener upon arrival.
Face Masks Required
Face masks are required at all Hawaiian airports and in all public and private businesses. Face masks are encouraged in all open areas as well.
The inter-island travel quarantine will be re-instated as of August 11, 2020, as declared in the 11th Emergency Proclamation by Governor David Ige. During an afternoon news conference, Governor Ige announced he has decided that he will approve the inter-island travel quarantine only for travelers arriving on the counties of Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, and Kalawao (Molokai), and Lanai. This does not affect arrivals on Oahu.
Will you be safe in Hawaii?
Hawaii’s economy is, for better or worse, heavily reliant on tourism. The longstanding quarantine rules that began in late March 2020 have resulted in widespread unemployment across the islands, which is undoubtedly one of the motivating factors behind the phased reopening.
Visitors should know that Hawaii’s visitor industry continues to maintain the highest standards for sanitation and has taken additional steps to enhance its efforts at hotels, attractions, restaurants, and other public spaces across the Hawaiian Islands to prevent the spread of infectious diseases amongst residents and visitors.
Across much of the Hawaiian islands, normal life has resumed with physical distancing rules in place, some capacity restrictions, and mask-wearing is encouraged. Beaches, outdoor attractions, and restaurants across the state have opened for business.
As of late May, outdoor tour operators have also been allowed to resume operating, while state parks have also been gradually reopening in May and June. The majority of hotels have also either already opened or will be accepting reservations as of October 15th.
With all the pre-screening and measures in place you will be as safe as anywhere in Canada or the United States when it comes to Covid19. Remember to maintain social distancing, wash your hands and wear a mask. The same rules apply anywhere. Below you will find some awesome tours in Hawaii to make your vacation amazing!