Aloha Is A Real Law In Hawaii

Hawaii Travel Rules To Ease As COVID Numbers Decline Rapidly?

On Friday, Hawaii’s Governor Ige had a press conference at which he announced extended orders and other rules important to visitors. But not so fast. There’s much more to the story. And let’s just say that visitor arrivals, the Hawaii travel industry stakeholders, and the state’s COVID numbers all appear to be on a somewhat different trajectory than the Governor. And one island plans to change up some things even this week.

Governor Ige asks visitors to continue to stay away from Hawaii, for now.

On Friday, Ige asked that visitors continue to postpone Hawaii vacations at least through the end of November. Ige said he is working with Hawaii’s travel stakeholders to encourage tourism again once COVID numbers trend down lower. The governor first suggested that Hawaii visitors “stay away” on August 23.

Among other rules, the current indoor mask mandate will continue through November. So too will Hawaii Safe Travels rules requiring vaccination or proof of negative COVID test before Hawaii travel.

The governor continues to be concerned about Hawaii’s average daily case count, which he said at that time was still above 300. Today, however, that number is 259 over the past 14-days, and today’s count was only 195 cases statewide. In August the average number was approaching 1,000.

The rapid decline in cases and other data in Hawaii could even result in further changes. But the governor didn’t allude to that, and so it is just our speculation at this time.

Furthermore, having withdrawn his prior suggestion that at 70% vaccinated, the State would drop its Covid travel restrictions, the governor said there are no longer specific metrics he is considering in that regard. Ige said, “the response that I got from the professionals is that they could not see a single metric that would be appropriate to trigger action to either restrict or expand or release restrictions.”

BOH: Clarity of policies and consensus-building have never been strong points here in Hawaii. How is it where you live?

Hawaii travel industry and visitors don’t concur with the governor’s request.

The Hawaii travel industry has continued to promote Hawaii tourism without regard to the governor’s request, which came without any enforcement. There have been widespread Hawaii airfare sales from every airline that serves Hawaii and those will continue. And it isn’t just the airlines.

Visitors are flocking to Hawaii in significant numbers. While those numbers are down somewhat from 2019 (the last useful comparison year), they are still significant, with Hawaii seeing well north of 15,000 domestic arrivals daily, per the State’s arrivals chart below.

Hawaii domestic passenger arrivals

Could restrictions be lifted sooner than currently planned?

Even since the governor’s announcement last Friday, Hawaii Covid numbers have declined. So, it is possible that changes could occur sooner than later. Ige said, “the industry did let me know that it does take time to ramp up. They would like at least two weeks notice ahead of any significant change.”

Honolulu rule changes are planned starting this week.

On Oahu, where the Safe Access Oahu vaccination passport was initiated last month, changes are afoot. Mayor Rick Blangiardi plans this week to reduce the curfew requirements he previously spearheaded.

Alcohol service has been stopped with a 10 pm curfew since the new program began. Oahu plans to change that to be 12 midnight. Normally Oahu serves alcohol until 2 am.

According to the Hawaii Restaurant Association, Oahu restaurants have seen a nearly 50% drop in revenue since the implementation of the latest rules.

Oahu and Maui vaccination passport issues.

Restaurants on both Oahu and Maui are responsible for monitoring that customers follow the latest rules requiring vaccination or testing within the past 48-hours. It hasn’t been easy as customers aren’t always happy to comply with those demands and restaurant staff are challenged.

Maui’s rules are slightly different from Honolulu’s since guests on Maui who do not comply can eat outside. Both sets of regulations reduced restaurant and bar capacity to 50%, however.

30 thoughts on “Hawaii Travel Rules To Ease As COVID Numbers Decline Rapidly?”

  1. While Governor Ige frets over Hawaii’s travel rules the vaccines just turned over another new card.

    “A study published on Monday in The Lancet medical journal found that the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fell below 50 percent after about six months after the second dose. …

    Researchers determined that the waning immunity had to do with the amount of time since an individual was given the second shot rather than due to the highly infectious delta strain.” …

    The preprint study found that the vaccine’s effectiveness reached a peak of 96.2 percent within two months after the second dose, with the shot’s effectiveness found at the time to decrease by about 6 percentage points every two months afterwards.”

    Choi J. (4 Oct 2021). Study shows Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness declines after six months. THE HILL, https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare

    We are now at least 8 months into the first becoming fully vaccinated and time moves forward. Also this week we learned variants show increased penetration of vaccines.

    Governor Ige appears to be content to continue to sell Hawaii’s blood to support a bet on his vaccine requirements. Meanwhile, new data this week shows the virus just drew at least two new high cards.

    Indeed an interesting high stakes game.

  2. I live on Kauai and am visiting Florida and Kentucky. So much freedom here! Not surprised Ige is retracting his 70% relaxing of rules.

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  3. Aloha Beat of Hawaii,
    I find your news the most unbiased of any news I read. So please publish this information.
    Look at covid case rates after the travel testing requirement ended 7/6/2021 & see how the Hawaii infection rates doubled weekly. Testing is the only sure way to prevent asymptomatic covid cases out of Hawaii. The vaccine doesn’t protect against infection nor transmission, it is only a symptom suppression vaccination to keep you out of the hospital. I can forward you many articles demonstrating how many “breakthrough” cases there are, as many as 28.7% of all recent reported new covid cases. Please contact me so I can provide more information. One of the most successful methods of keeping covid cases low in Hawaii is to reinstate negative covid test results prior to boarding a flight to Hawaii. Aloha, David W

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    1. Hi DAVID W

      I think you are correct. But I also think it won’t work.

      First, there are legal issues.

      Secondly, and I think strongest, is the overall weariness of the public with restrictive anti-COVID measures. The proffered message regarding the benefits of these has simply become too distorted. After a while the numbers just run together into a loop of meaningless statistical data causing a relevance crash. I also think the continual orders to the public of “run here, do this; now over there, do that” has worn their patience somewhat thin.

      There is just a tiredness in the people with all of this. For good or bad, they are increasingly moving on beyond it.

    2. I agree! until ALL travelers are required to test negative 72 hours before departure the state of Hawaii will never get a handle on this… Negative test results forALL vaccinated or Not!!

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  4. I am looking forward to my trip to Maui on Wednesday. No problems with safe travels app. Was on big island in July. Just have to have patience and live on island time. No rush or hurry. I enjoy talking to locals each visit. I realize they have same problems as mainland. Shortages of employees, and sometimes consumer goods. Folks have to realize it’s not business owner’s fault. Visitors have to be respectful of all the issues. Relax, chill, and enjoy the islands.
    Mahalo and Aloha,🤙 See you Wednesday!
    Jenn

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