Kauai Mayor Kawakami today extended the duration of emergency orders to be in effect at least until February 20, 2021. How that impacts travel isn’t completely clear. This was first mentioned by KITV. Today’s very hard to discern proclamation is effective for an additional 60 days unless something changes. Read on for what that might mean.
Since December 2, there has been a mandatory 10-day quarantine for all arrivals. That is true no matter whether arrivals have obtained a negative test result or not. The exact duration or basis for the continuation of the quarantine-based shutdown is not specified at this time. This has stopped virtually all vacation travel to the Garden Island and nearly all flights.
That means most hotels are closed and many other businesses cannot keep going while the other islands accept visitors without a quarantine who test negative on Hawaii’s Safe Travels terms. Unless the governor steps in, the future remains unclear. There are currently 6 active cases on Kauai as of December 22, with one of those requiring hospitalization.
When will Kauai really reopen?
Kauai could decide to rejoin the Safe Travel program, if it approves of whatever new terms may come into effect next month. Also, the governor has the authority to decide travel rules for the entire state. No one knows for sure, but here’s what we see on the horizon and is being widely proposed for the rest of the state come the beginning of the new year.
1. Testing period change from within 72-hours of travel to within 96-hours of travel.
2. Elimination of 10-day quarantine for visitors who follow “all” procedures but do not obtain timely results from Hawaii’s trusted testing partners through no fault of their own. Visitors would only quarantine until negative results are obtained.
3. Statewide on-arrival testing in some form. Supported by the mayors and others, what is being discussed is rapid testing 3-4 days following arrival. Would there be quarantine during those initial days? We think not, as any quarantine, no matter the duration stops virtually all tourism.
4. Also on the state’s short-term radar is travel without testing for those who have received the new vaccines. The Lt. Gov. has suggested that start February 1 and we’re awaiting details.
How this shutdown occurred.
Early on during the pandemic, Governor Ige allowed mayors to make decisions regarding their handling of COVID. He then began taking back control and stated last month, for example, that Safe Travels rules should be interpreted the same on all the islands, for clarity among other things.
Kawakami had proposed that arrivals to take a second test 72 hours after arrival and be quarantined only the 3 days prior to that subsequent test. That proposal, however, was denied by the governor, who indicated that was tantamount to a modification of Safe Travels.
It was then that Kawakami suggested opting-out of Safe Travels, which has thus far been approved of by the governor.
What are your thoughts, please?
Updated 12/22/20 7 pm.