Is Hawaii Travel On Brink of Disaster AGAIN With No Plans In Sight?

This was not what we thought we would be writing about this holiday week. It seems we’re all in the same boat in that regard. Nonetheless, Hawaii travel is about to be upended once again as Covid cases rage here in the islands and globally. Yesterday we had nearly 1,000 new cases, and another 840 today. The governor said that “we are seeing an alarming increase in the number of cases,” while the Dept. of Health Director warned that Hawaii’s limited medical system could be in bad shape.

Yet the governor said nothing substantive to say about Hawaii travel, the state’s economic engine. Ige said merely that he is working with the counties to determine what kind of protocols might need to be implemented to prevent a catastrophic failure of Hawaii’s medical system. “At this point in time, we are not looking to implement any changes (to safe Travels).” He did say with regards to travel, however, that the state is constantly reevaluating changes to testing that may be needed.

The director of Hawaii’s Dept. of Health said that with the increasing prevalence of Omicron in Hawaii, “perhaps the numbers in the hospitals may end up being worse than delta… due to the ease of transmission, we are going to see people ending up in the hospital.”

What this means for Hawaii visitors.

Below is a changing list of what might be about to happen to Hawaii travel and what you can do.

  • Hawaii’s 3-day testing doesn’t work – 24-hour testing may be on the horizon.
  • Covid tests for all passengers, vaccinated or not?
  • Could boosters soon be required for Hawaii travel?
  • Vaccination validity periods to be determined.
  • Will Hawaii keep “trusted partner” PCR rules for Hawaii testing?
  • Could the state take back authority over the counties on Covid matters?
  • How to prepare for Hawaii travel now.

Hawaii’s 3-day testing doesn’t work – could 24-hour testing return to the table?

Since the US now requires that tests be within 1-day of travel for international arrivals, it does seem likely that Hawaii would try to move in a similar direction. The concern remains how much of a deterrent 24-hour tests would be, as visitors could find it harder and harder to obtain any tests while Omicron rages and demands more overall testing capacity unrelated to travel.

Covid tests for all passengers, vaccinated or not?

The answer remains maybe. Can Hawaii implement that on its own without a broader federal government policy requiring all passengers to be tested, whether vaccinated or not? There’s been no word from anyone nationally or in the state as cases continue to climb exponentially.

Until now, only a very small percentage of cases have been related to visitor travel, but a significant number have been returning residents. That was reasserted on Friday by the state.

Will boosters soon be required for Hawaii travel?

Yes, that is highly likely. Governor Ige said Friday that “we are following the CDC and looking at what their recommendations are in terms of whether those who have had two doses are fully vaccinated. At this point in time, the number of cases tied to travel is very low.” Hawaii DOH data indicate that the majority of cases are related to residents who have traveled or are community spread.

On this subject too, it remains to be seen if Hawaii moves in its own direction in relation to Safe Travels rule modifications.

Hawaii still has a 10-day quarantine requirement but the vast majority of travelers are using exemptions for those either fully vaccinated, or PCR-tested per its strict Safe Travels rules.

Vaccination validity periods to be determined.

Globally, specifications for the length of time following vaccination during which travelers are considered fully vaccinated are about to be set. Israel says that is six months. European countries are still considering nine months. We don’t know what is being planned in the US, but something will likely change.

Will Hawaii keep “trusted partner” PCR rules for Hawaii testing?

Hawaii still requires that travelers obtain PCR type tests only from approved (“trusted partner”) vendors. We aren’t clear whether that may change. The DOH director did mention on Friday, in this regard, that they are investigating other testing types.

Could the state take back authority over the counties on Covid matters?

Yes, that too is possible. Either it could happen by decree or by consensus. This is not going to be a time when the state will allow each county to act alone.

How to prepare for Hawaii travel.

Keep your cancellation options open. When choosing Hawaii flights, accommodations, and activities, think before buying. Can you cancel or change your reservations with little or no cost if need be?

Continue to consider trip insurance as needed. Travel insurance policies (other than those with specifically purchased cancel for any reason clauses) will most likely cover you for medical including actually having COVID, but not for wanting to cancel due to fear of getting COVID. Read trip insurance policies carefully to know exactly what you are buying.

85 thoughts on “Is Hawaii Travel On Brink of Disaster AGAIN With No Plans In Sight?”

  1. Still no indication the OMG variant is as virulent as Delta, but more and more evidence that it is in fact much milder. Jury’s still out I guess however it sure seems like we are getting to the place of putting this behind us. Essentially if you are vaxxed you have more to fear from many other things then Covid and if you are not it’s a personal choice. You have to be responsible for that choice like paying your fair share for medical insurance, but we need an exit strategy.

  2. King Kamehameha mandated Smallpox vaccination in the 19th century to protect Hawaiʻi, so why doesn’t Ige mandate vaccination for Covid?

  3. I don’t get it. All over the world the symptoms of Omicron are being compared to the common cold yet the President says we’re going to get sick and die. The fully vaxed are also being hospitalized in great numbers. I truly hope the hospitals won’t get overcrowded but I’m getting burned out on the fear mongering and constant contradictions and rule changes.

    1. Joe, this has been fact-checked to death. COVID is clearly more deadly than the common cold. Common sense will tell you that, along with the 805,000+ dead in the US alone. One example of the fact-check on this:

  4. It would appear that the reason Omicron is less virulent is because so many people have been vaccinated.
    Aloha Guys

    1. where’s the science please? The most vaccinated populations on the planet have some of the highest case rates.

      1. Just looked it up. Isreal’s cases are sky rocketing alright, but…the hospitalization rates are staying steady. Most of the increased cases are mild.
        82% of the serious cases are unvaxxed or vaxxed more then 6 months ago. 90% of the serious cases under 60 years old are unvaxxed.
        Seems like the vaccine is working quite well. Protection is out there if you want it.

  5. Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things; and every day, nature is making bigger and better fools.
    – unknown

  6. This is pretty sad…The spread has always been local, not through tourists. Omicron is more contagious, but less deadly.

    When is Hawaii going to stop treating the biggest part of their economy like they hate us? I really feel like the governor’s goal is to slow tourism in the state. If the state goes back to requiring all visitors to get a test through their “trusted travel providers”, tourism will stop. When are the citizens of Hawaii going to stand up and take Ige to task?

    1. You are correct that tourism is not to blame for the majority of cases. Do you consider that may be as a result of Hawaii’s safe travels program actually working? Tested or vaccinated tourists are a safe bet. Primary driver of the spread has been un vaxxed residents.

    2. How do you figure the locals started this. It was flown here not grown here. It may be community spread later, but the beginning of all of this was because it was flown here.

      1. The issue is residents returning from trips to the mainland, particularly California. Due to the extent of locals having to leave to get good jobs, many have extended families on the mainland who they visit. With Omicron isolating at home means the other family members are most likely to get it. The answers are all vaccination. All passengers to Hawaii; Kama’aina, Malahini, Military and Visitor should be vaccinated with booster. Residents who are unvaccinated should not isolate at home.

      2. Hoku, I thought it goes without saying that the virus was imported to Hawaii, not sure by who though. But I thinks it’s a safe bet that tested/ vaccinated people are considerably safer to Hawaii then unvaxxed/ untested people are, no matter where they are from. That said, it’s time to look forward not back.

  7. Aloha,

    We’re going to see more cases, but the panic is uncalled for. This variant has less impact than Delta. So the “potential” surge in hospital cases is simply fearmongering. Also, finally validated & said publicly is that the spread majority has been, & still is – local. The fact of the matter is, if locals want to feel safe & have an industry providing revenue, then the loud but vocal minority need to stop the ridiculous protesting & pouting & get vaccinated! Simple math.

    1. The trouble is that when you still have 20-30% of the population who refuse to vaccinate, then Omicron will run ramped and quickly through this population. In Isreal most of the increased cases are mild. 82% of the serious cases are unvaxxed or vaxxed more than 6 months ago. 90% of the serious cases under 60 years old are unvaxxed. Seems like the vaccine is working quite well.

      1. You can’t honestly believe after critically thinking that the 20-30% of “unvaccinated” individuals are directly responsible for spreading the virus to the vaccinated? Do you blame people who don’t get flu shots when you get the flu? We need to get away from trying to find someone to blame and just accept this for what it is, a virus that will continue to mutate no matter what we do.

        1. SD, your point about the flu is all we need to know. This mandate is simply a power play. We lose 15,000 – 60,000 every year from the flu, yet no one threatens us with the loss of family and livelihood if we don’t get a flu shot.

          I wish everyone would get the COVID shots, but I have no problem with those who don’t.

          BTW, I’ve had the 2 Moderna shots in March and April and the booster a week ago.

          1. Rod, yours is a very high road perspective and good on you. While I have been on here very provax and supportive of many of the mandates, at some point we have to realize the government cannot force everyone to have the same perspective…on anything.
            Mele Kalihimaka to all.

          2. I am fast approaching the conclusion, as you have, that virus related mandates are power projections.

            A government that admits and redistributes ~2 million untested and non-vaccinated people, with up to 30% of them positive for a virus, while simultaneously eliminating healthcare workers due to a vaccination status, cannot reasonably be deemed to believe testing or vaccination is an effective virus control measure.

            “Power is not a means; it is an end.”
            ― George Orwell, 1984

        2. I’m not blaming anyone. I’m pointing out the facts and why it’s more important than ever for as many people as possible get vaccinated.

  8. Barbara M is 100% correct. Not everyone who travels to Hawaii lives on the West Coast. We live east of the Mississippi & the 24 hour test is a deal breaker. Between time differences & 3connecting flights there is no way we could test 24 hours in advance to meet the requirement. The science experts say omincron has mild cold-like symptoms, but Hawaii prefers to listen to the fear masters. Covid variants are here to stay and Hawaii may not survive it. Politics over people= disaster.

  9. To travel internationally to Hawaii is one required to get an antigen rapid test 1 day prior to departure.

    1. Hi Martha.

      If you’re on a flight from another country that stops anywhere else in the US before Hawaii then you must comply with Hawaii Safe Travels, the same as any domestic passenger. For nonstop flights to Hawaii (say from Sydney), then the rules that apply are these.


    2. MARTHA… Antigen tests have never been an acceptable form of testing. Only PCR and Rapid Results are acceptable.

      1. Hi Barbara.

        Antigen tests are acceptable for international direct flights to Hawaii. Not for domestic flights.


  10. Aloha BOH Bro’s

    Last week it was reported that over 70 members of congress are invested in Big Pharma and covid testing companies.

    Do you thing any of them or their stakeholders want to end the pandemic?

    That’s why Omicron panic is being created these, guys are getting.

    1. If it’s true that would explain why certain politicians are supporting the anti vax agenda. That said just because you read it on the Internet it doesn’t mean it’s true though.

      1. Many not just here on BOH are coming to the same conclusion that politicians and their stakeholders are getting rich off this.

        There’s oceans of vaccine that must be used before new treatments are approved. Once viable treatments are approved covid will be no different than flu. Individuals with health issues and seniors will benefit from vaccine, but healthy individuals will rely on treatments.

        Big pharma win wins


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