Why Hawaii Travel Will Rebound First

What CDC Quarantine Reduction Mean For Hawaii Safe Travels Program

Updated 12/2/20. We said you should expect changes to the Safe Travels Program soon, and today it seems that will be coming even sooner than we thought. There is currently a 3-day pre-travel testing plan valid to all islands except Kauai, and a 14-day quarantine without negative results on arrival. Kauai on the other hand, starting today, has shuttered once again to travel and is requiring a mandatory 14-day quarantine for everyone.

We said when we first published this, “We simply have not heard the last of this and you should expect more significant changes soon.” Here’s what’s going on as of today, that you’ll want to know and look out for if you plan to travel to Hawaii anytime soon.

CDC recommendation could change Kauai and statewide quarantine to 7 Days.

As of this morning, CDC is recommending that the quarantine period for those testing negative for COVID be reduced from 14 to 7 days. As a result, we do expect to see Hawaii’s rules reflect that, and here’s’ how that “might” look. We’re waiting for news from the state at this point.

1. Those who test negative but do not have test results on hand for arrival, would only be required to quarantine for 7 days instead of 14.

2. Kauai’s mandatory 14-day quarantine could be reduced to a mandatory 7-day quarantine with a negative test result in the final two days of that period. That will not help Kauai visitors to a large degree, who’s entire vacation is still only 7 days on average.

3. We still are awaiting an update on whether Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s plan for a 96-hour test rather than a 72-hour test will be put into effect.

4. It is not clear whether Hawaii has adequate testing resources to go to test all visitors on arrival. The question is could a significant shortage of tests for travel preclude that option.

What about the Lieutenant Governor’s proposal for pre and post-travel testing.

Josh Green, who is the official responsible for the state’s traveler testing program, and an emergency room physician, has proposed changes to the Safe Travels program. These are intended to make it even safer and help address the problem you’ve widely reported in comments about test results not being obtained in time to meet the current 72-hour rules. Here’s what he is suggesting:

1. Change pre-travel testing from within 72 hours of travel to within 96 hours of travel. That will ease a lot of concern for those who rightly fear not having results prior to travel.

2. Require a second rapid antigen test on arrival in Hawaii for all visitors. To make the Safe Travel program better, Green had previously indicated a desire for post-travel testing but said there weren’t adequate tests available at that time to fulfill that goal. We don’t know to what degree that has changed so we’ll wait to hear more on that.

Green, perhaps speaking to Kauai’s recent plan to require a mandatory 14-day quarantine, indicated there is no reason to make big changes to a system that is already working, with what he termed the lowest mortality and active cases per capita in the US.

The lieutenant governor was insulting to the Honolulu Mayor’s suggestions and called Caldwell’s proposal juvenile. Green is not in favor of allowing people to come to Hawaii without testing and still be able to test out on arrival. He believes the governor, who was silent on this particular discussion, concurs with him, which is why the state recently changed to require a 14-day quarantine with no exception for those who don’t produce negative results initially on arrival.

Kauai now closed with 14-day mandatory quarantine and no alternatives.

The new 14-day mandatory quarantine went into effect today without regard to whether arrivals previously obtained a negative test result or not. The duration of this shutdown and the criteria for reopening has not been specified. Nearly all vacation travel to the Garden Island and most flights will cease. Airlines have already canceleds flights.

We previously mentioned that Kauai resort bubbles may be back. Your comments overwhelmingly state you are not interested in those whatsoever. A resort bubble has been in place at Timbers Resort for example. That program expanding this week, and to prepare for it Timbers has purchased more guest monitoring bracelets. The large property adjacent to Lihue Airport does not have beach access. Rates start at $874 per night with a minimum 4-night stay, in the off-season.

Big Island testing on-arrival update.

The Big Island plans changes too and will now test 100% of all arrivals starting today. That will be in addition to the state’s required pre-travel test, currently set at within 72 hours of departure. That on-arrival test is to be provided near the airport, and we believe there will be no charge for that.

Honolulu Mayor Caldwell’s proposal.

Caldwell said recently he is in favor of several changes he’s putting forward in a new proposal to the governor.

1. Provide a way for those who have tested pre-travel but don’t have the correct test results in hand on arrival. They would be permitted to get a traveler-paid test at Honolulu’s new testing lab to avoid the 14-day quarantine.

2. Offer a new 4-day quarantine for those who do not test pre-travel. In this case, the mayor is proposing two post-travel tests. The first one would be on arrival, followed by 4-days of quarantine and a second test. These visitors would be required to use Honolulu’s contact testing app. Those arriving would be required to pay for all testing, although prices aren’t known yet.

Updated 12/2/20.

280 thoughts on “What CDC Quarantine Reduction Mean For Hawaii Safe Travels Program”

  1. I am planning to fly to Big Island on 12/17. I got the Vault home kit test already. My flight departs at 7:00 am from Phoenix to LA and arrives at Kona Airport at 12:30 pm. My question is do I count 72 hours from departure from Phoenix or from LA or arrival time?

  2. Have plans to fly into Honolulu Airport early January 2021 from Alabama Do not have any signs of the virus only have sinus allergies Do not intend to be quarantined for any length of time can do that at my own house Concerns are not about traveling just want to be able to experience Hawaii able to go around enjoy myself with enough freedom Have thought about changing my plans until later in 2021 am definitely coming to at some point it is my dream trip Would appreciate your feedback on this

    1. Hi Melinda.

      There are countless comments from people who are either here now or have just been here. Peruse those for their feedback. Our sense is you will have a great time.


  3. Terry, unless you can schedule a rapid test with Embry, I would suggest you avoid them. I had scheduled a test with them for travel to the USVI which has a 5-day test window. At that time I scheduled my test, Embry was quoting a 48-hr to 72-hr turnaround. At the time of my test, they quoted 3 to 5 days. On the 4th day, I decided to go to Gateway Urgent Care in Gilbert ($75) for a rapid test. Thank God I did because Embry didn’t return my results for 5 1/2 days…after I had arrived in the USVI.

  4. Resort bubbles are a joke. You will always have the possibility of new guests arriving this contaminateing the ones already there. It only benefits the rich. Not your average tourists. I do not agree with the mayor on kauai. He set a plan of tiers that you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out and then does not even follow his own plan but quickly goes directly to a 14 day mandatory quarantine. Makes no sense. Think before you act. Rely on the lieutenant governor. His proposed numbers were very accurate under the safe travels plan. Kauai’s numbers have been lower than the anticipated numbers. And it’s not the tourists bringing on COVID. It’s the locals. And if they are worried about ICU/ventilators staffing issues ect they have had 9 months to get that up to snuff and chose not too. Very very sad indeed. The homeless situation of camp clusters is despicable. Elderly. Families and babies. That should be a concern not shutting down the island.

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