Plan Eliminating Half Of Maui Vacation Rentals Was Years In Making

Confusing New Hawaii COVID Rules Approved With Still More Changes Certain

Hawaii Gov. David Ige reappeared yesterday prior to his departure for Scotland to attend the UN COP26 Climate Change convention. He unveiled a list of changes that will have a significant impact both on mainland domestic and international travelers starting next week. Some surprise announcements will also necessarily lead to more changes that will be forthcoming this week. It was as messy and confusing as we’d expected it to be, and it appears to have been done without the buy-in from the county mayors. So read on and see what we mean.

Where was Lieutenant Governor Josh Green?

As we said yesterday, Green and Ige are like oil and water. Josh Green was apparently not invited to take part in yesterday’s announcement. Instead, lesser-known Safe Travels administrator Sherilyn Kajiwara and Hawaii Dept. of Defense head Major General Kenneth Hara joined the governor. Green’s frequent updates on Facebook did not even mention the important announcement from the governor.

Mainland travelers’ rule changes.

What changed and what else might occur this week?

The governor is lifting all restaurant, bar, and gym capacity restrictions. But, that is only in those counties that require vaccination or recent (48-hour) COVID tests as entrance requirements to those facilities. That caught both Kauai and the Big Island by surprise, and they are scrambling at this moment.

As of today, only Honolulu and Maui have implemented such vaccination/testing requirements. Kauai and the Big Island will need to remain at 50% capacity until and unless they implement the same requirements as Maui and Honolulu.

In addition, starting next week, “outdoor” dining, bars, and other establishments will no longer require either a mask mandate or social distancing. That measure is statewide and is unrelated to potential changes coming to Kauai and the Big Island. Until this goes into effect, patrons have been required to remain seated with their group, maintain 6-feet of physical distance between groups, and wear masks except when eating or drinking.

Big Island says not so fast.

Hawaii Island’s mayor said there will be no changes on that island starting next week. He did not rule out coming into alignment with Maui and Honolulu but indicated merely that it won’t be happening on November 12.

Kauai is caught off-guard by the governor’s announcement.

Kauai had not implemented vaccination or testing requirements for entry to restaurants and other facilities. Following yesterday’s announcement by the governor, Mayor Kawakami said, “unfortunately, we did not have any prior knowledge or discussions with the Governor or his team about this new Executive Order until today. We agree that it’s time for our businesses to operate at larger capacity if they choose, but it should not require another county policy or program.”

So what is going to happen on Kauai? While not entirely clear, it appears that the Garden Island will soon come into alignment with Maui and Oahu on the testing or vaccination requirements in order to move from 50% to 100% capacity.

The mayor said that the new order “essentially forces the County to implement such a policy in order to allow our local businesses to operate above 50%. We’re now in a position where we must make a quick decision.”

Yesterday’s changes will go into effect on November 12.

Ige said, “vaccination is the most widespread and important mitigation measure during this pandemic.”

Effective November 8, Hawai is to accept any vaccination that is FDA or WHO authorized.

International travel rules change effective November 8.

Testing for all passengers among other rules.

Starting November 8, in conjunction with federal government rule changes, international arrival requirements to Hawaii will be different. For non-US citizens traveling “directly” to Hawaii from another country, both proof of vaccination and a negative NAAT/Antigen COVID test within three days of boarding a flight to the US will be required.

For US citizens flying “directly” to Hawaii from abroad, fully vaccinated passengers must also provide a NAT/Antigent COVID test “taken within 72 hours” of the US-bound flight. Those US citizens not fully vaccinated are required to show proof of the same negative test “taken within 24 hours” of boarding the US-bound flight.

Hawaii Trusted Travel Partners requirement is out for international.

For international arrivals, tests must be either NAAT or Antigen but no longer need to be from a Trusted Travel Partner.

International passengers who stop en route to Hawaii will, however, then be considered domestic passengers, and will need to comply with Safe Travels rules including the Trusted Travel Partner only tests, or vaccination from within the US. That means those passengers will need to have two tests before arriving in Hawaii.

Also starting November 8, all airlines flying to the US will be required to collect and maintain international passenger contact tracing information.

87 thoughts on “Confusing New Hawaii COVID Rules Approved With Still More Changes Certain”

  1. Aloha again.
    My plan is to travel LHR-LAX 3 Jan (Covid test booked on Jan 2) Once I arrive in LAX there is a Clarity Labs Facility in TB Terminal and I’ll book a test there (when booking open). Only when the result comes in can I complete Hawaii Safe Travels documents. Overnight at LAX. Depart LAX for LIH at 8.30a.m. on Hawaiian 63 the morning of Jan 4. I hope that Hawaiian will allow me to don the wristband!
    Sounds like a plan or what?
    What do you guys think?
    Mahalofor your considered help.

    1. Hi Michael.

      Clarity says within an hour as one PCR test option. Also 3-5 hours. So it sounds workable based on those. Please let us know how it all works.


  2. Aloha Rob & Jeff.
    It’s Thanksgiving Month, so Happy Thanksgiving.
    My vacation details – Belfast – London, then London to LAX with a stopover ibefore going on to Lihue. The logistics are getting a Covid Lateral Flow test in London on January 2 for travel to LAX on January 3.. I will get a further test on arrival at LAX and depart for Lihue on January 3 That all good, I hope? Is that time enough to fill up safe travel details? Hope so!!! Mahalo for your help.

    1. Hi Michael.

      How long will you be at LAX? Do you have a test lined up with a Hawaii trusted testing partner that is an approved rapid one? And maybe a backup plan. Also do get a wrist band before boarding for Hawaii to simplify things.


  3. So, the clarification I received is that Hawaii will not follow the US Change to accept vaccinations from travelers from the majority of countries affected. An exception to vaccinations for passengers from the Pacific routes which fly direct into Hawaii but as of now, Hawaii does not accept Foreign Vaccinations from travelers who are required to connect on the mainland. The way to avoid the ban is to fly from Europe, Brazil, Mexico etc via Canada, Japan or the like.

    1. Hi Rich.

      Confusing. We do not find that in the Safe Travels documentation. Can you provide any clarification you received.



        If I’m flying through another state or territory before arriving to Hawai‘i, is that still considered direct travel because I’m on the same flight itinerary?
        No. International passengers entering the U.S. from another state or territory will be treated as domestic travelers when entering the State of Hawai‘i. You will need to participate in the State of Hawai‘i’s Safe Travels program. Click here to create a Safe Travels account…in FAQ’s.

        1. Hi Rich.

          That does for now at least appear to be correct. There are still more details to be worked out.


  4. According to Hawaii’s COVID-19 website, starting Nov 8, 2021, Hawaii will allow travelers vaccinated anywhere in the world to be exempt from quarantine and testing requirements. However, you must still fill out the Safe Travels form at and upload your proof of vaccination.

    “Any traveler who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the United States or U.S. Territories (this will expand on November 8 and include all countries.) will be eligible for the quarantine exception.”

    1. Bob, your statement is true if vaccinated in the US or US territories. Foreign or US Citizens vaccinated overseas with Pfizer, Modena etc who travel to Hawaii clearing immigration on the mainland will not have their Vaccination accepted by Hawaii and need a Partner Test the same as someone without a vaccination. Hawaii only follows the US policy for flights arriving from another country. Presumably because they are covered by Federal Law and Ige cannot contest it.

  5. I agree with the first 3 commenters. Hawaii has brought this upon itself for listening to Ige, Green, and the fear mongers who are Not following the science. I own 3 timeshares in Hawaii that I have not be able to enjoy since Covid started because I Refuse to take this vaccine. Furthermore, I have had Covid and have natural antibodies. They are totally ignoring the science concerning natural antibodies. This is all about politics and Not about science.

  6. The Governor is not aligning with US Federal requirements. Passengers who have non stop flights will have foreign vaccines accepted but if you enter the USA at a mainland airport as all travelers from Europe have to do, will not have their foreign vaccination accepted. So a US citizen vaccinated overseas will not have their vaccination accepted if they change planes. This would be a clear violation of Amdt14.S1. of the US Constitution. Can you get clarification please?

    1. Hi Rich.

      How direct travel is defined has not been clarified at this point. Hopefully it will be soon.


      1. Thanks for swift reply. Hawaii will eventually have to accept foreign vaccines with FDA or WHO approval. Taking the universal IATA interpretation of a connection being flight continuation under 24 hours would lessen their burden of proof and make such regulations less likely to be immediately subject to a temporary injunction in Federal Court, Let us not forget that Air travel and Interstate travel are Federal not State matters, so deviating from Federal Policy may not be helpful to the State .

  7. So I am confused now. If I’m coming from LA to Maui, I still need my vaccination card AND a negative COVID test 72hrs prior?

    1. Hi Stacey,

      Because your itinerary is domestic, you will need only your COVID vaccination record.

      You must also enter travel details, upload your vaccination card, and fill out the Health Questionnaire on the Safe Travels Hawaii portal prior to your trip.

  8. ” That means those passengers will need to have two tests before arriving in Hawaii.”

    This is not true!

    Beginning on Nov. 8, the State of Hawaiʻi, in alignment with the federal government, will accept vaccines approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. A list of currently accepted vaccines is posted on the CDC’s website. (got this email from

    1. With respect you have not read the full statement. International visitors who fly directly to Hawaii without a stop can use foreign vaccinations with a Negative Test not from a partner.Those who stop en route (to change planes) are classified as domestic passengers. The State only recognizes US Vaccinations from these pax under Safe Travels Program. They will need to get a negative covid test from a State partner before boarding their connection as their vaccination will be ignored. Lunacy.

      1. Wow I’m totally confused. I’m flying from Florida to Hilo. What is required of me. I’ve had the 3 shots and I have the covid card. Now what. I’m flying g December 3rd. Help. Making flying difficult. It’s not rocket science

        1. Hi Joyce,

          As long as you have received an FDA or WHO-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine from anywhere in the world, and are fully vaccinated, you will only need to:

          -Create a Safe Travels Hawaii account
          -Fill in personal, travel details
          -upload COVID vaccination record
          -Fill out Health Questionnaire (w/in 24 hrs of flight)

          All steps are done thru Safe Travels and should be complete prior to your flight.

          No need to take a test prior to travel. Have your vaccine card when traveling.

  9. Aloha everybody.
    I realise the new rules are throwing everybody a bit…
    As I’m hoping to fly from Ireland to LAX, have a stopover one night and then next morning travel to Kaua’i, I understand a test (NAAT) is required a) before leaving home and then b) another test (at LAX itself) before onward to the Islands. (I am double vaxxed and have gotten the booster.)
    May I just confirm that with you? (Maybe that might even change before my departure, eh?)
    Mahalo, as always.

    1. Hi Michael.

      Your understanding is the same as ours. Staying overnight in LA will definitely require that you take another test (Safe Travels approved).


      1. I am not sure whether Michael is a frequent traveler to Hawaii or not, so I think it helpful to advise that he needs to set up a Safe Travels Program account and enter this trip details and submit the Test result QR code prior to boarding. If you have done it before apologies but some folks do not do this step as foreign press do not cover it much.

          1. Hi Michael,

            For international travel, you need to take an antigen or NAAT test prior to boarding a US-bound flight and show proof of vaccination.

            For travel from LA to Hawaii, you only need your proof of vaccination from anywhere in the world, including Ireland, as long as the vaccine is FDA or WHO-approved/authorized. If your vaccine is not admissable, or you are not fully vaccinated, you will need a COVID test from a Trusted Testing Partner. Otherwise, no test is needed.

  10. Crazy! People actually voted FOR Hawaii’s Governor? Forget Hawaii as a vacation spot anytime soon.

  11. We just got back from 2 weeks on Kauai. While we rarely eat out, if we had been asked to show our vaccination cards to eat at a restaurant while there we would have probably opted to eat somewhere else. We are not fussy so picking up a sandwich or something similar that does not require that card is preferable. Whether or not we are fully vaccinated is not the business of a restaurant and it is a violation of HIPPA to demand it. There is a huge amount of ignoring law going on everywhere.

    1. HIPPA applies only to HIPAA covered entities such as health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses. A restaurant asking for status does not constitute a HIPPA violation.

    2. No it’s not a violation of HIPPA. Your choosing not to show yours which is your right. Those who volunteer it negates HIPPA laws. You need to do some research.

    3. It is absolutely not a HIPAA violation: that rule does Not apply to restaurants or private (non-medical) businesses!

    4. People keep spreading this misinformation, about HIPAA. BUT the law is clear, and asking for vax status is NOT HIPAA, nor ADA protected. You can’t hide behind HIPAA. HIPAA simply means that a doctor, a clinic, a hospital, etc. has a DUTY to protect others from knowing about your health (without your permission). For example, if Brennecke’s in Poipu asked for your vax card, and you refused, they can’t call your doctor to verify. As a private business, they can ask, and require, all they want.

      1. Thank you Rob its good to know there are people left with common sense that dont just run with the talking points on Hippa etc

  12. the State of Hawaii residents brought this on themselves by adhering to and believing Iggy and the Mayors 20 months ago..

    Y’all did nothing but empower the disgraceful Governor and Mayors.

    Reap what you sow

  13. I still don’t understand why the vaccinated are exempt from testing. I know 4 people who tested positive for the virus this week and all are fully vaccinated. I got Covid and recovered in November of last year and have not experienced another infection, despite being exposed 3 times to those who later tested positive. As someone with a science background & 16 years in healthcare, this has become completely political & we are ignoring peer reviewed studies—true science in the process.

    1. It’s clear to me now that the protected need to be protected from the unprotected by forcing the unprotected to use the protection that didn’t protect the protected.

      1. You are only kidding yourself if you don’t think the vaccinated can spread there are many reports out stating the viral load of the vaxxed is the same as the unvaxxed. You believe what you want but if you think you are safe and protected by vaxxed people good luck.

        1. They don’t spread it because they are vaccinated. The vaccine has zero live virus so, unless they have gotten it post vaccine they cannot shed any virus as it’s not live in the vaccine. You talk about science then spew talking points that are not based in science.

          1. New study from the University of California, Davis, Genome Center, UC San Francisco and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub shows no significant difference in viral load between vaccinated and unvaccinated people who tested positive for the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. It also found no significant difference between infected people with or without symptoms.

          2. Hi Liam.

            To quote the study directly, “I want to emphasize that this has been misinterpreted on social media as an argument against vaccination. Being vaccinated still protects you from getting the virus quite significantly. And probably also reduces the probability of transmitting to others. All we’re saying is of the people who got infected, many of them still have a lot of virus in their system.”


          3. If vaccinated get Covid they spread just like anyone else..being vaccinated dosnt stop them from running a fever and spreading it…I know vaccinated people that got covid and gave to their friends.

  14. Aloha friends! All I know is we’ll be back in Feb/Mar and cannot wait. Need us to vax. Check. Want us to Pre-test. Sure. Be patient while everyone figures out what the “new normal” will look like. Yes. Book our car rental well in advance & keep checking for price drops. Duh. Wear reef safe sunscreen. Yup.

    Whatever Hawaii wants to make their state safe, we’re in. We love the islands, and nothing changes that. For us.


  15. Thank you for the update. Would you please clarify/comment on the following:

    -we are flying from mainland on Delta (non-stop) to Honolulu in January.

    – We have had both of our vaccinations…is that considered to be “fully vaccinated”?…or do we have to also have the “booster shot” to be considered fully vaccinated?

    – We both have recently had Covid (while being fully vaccinated)and cannot receive the booster until after we get back…so we are not clear on the term “fully vaccinated”

    1. Hi Jean.

      Fully vaccinated does not mean having had a booster. At least not at this time.


      1. But having Covid, despite being Vaccinated, precludes having to take a “72” or “24” Hour Test reflecting Negative? How does the traveling Public at the Airport or on the same Plane know they are safe, as the Vaccinated can pass the Virus?

  16. International travelers flying direct to Hawaii don’t have to use “Trusted Partners” but US citizens flying from the mainland do? What kind of sense does that make?

    Time to get rid of “Safe Travels” altogether.

    Mahalo, BOH!


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