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Maui and Kauai Set New COVID Restrictions | What Visitors Should Know

As we indicated Monday, Kauai will now respond to its highest COVID case count ever with additional restrictions. If and how that could impact visitors isn’t completely worked out yet, what we have learned and what may be upcoming are below. Monday, the state reported 11 new cases on Maui as well as seven on Kauai. Kauai now has the highest positivity rate in the state. The county also reported this week that on Kauai, 60% of the population have had at least one vaccination, while on Maui, 51% have.

Maui is also in the midst of implementing mandatory on-arrival 2nd test requirements. Details are below.

Kauai COVID changes are coming.

On Tuesday, Kauai’s mayor said he would roll back to a more restrictive COVID tier 3 starting this Thursday, due to the unprecedented increase in cases recently. The county will require approval from Hawaii’s governor for any changes to go into effect.

The recent cases are related to resident-based spread rather than to visitors. Also, two bars/restaurants and two large gatherings have been mentioned as being at the core of the problem. While the county may not have seen see this specific threat coming, we can tell you that others did.

Kauai tiers have been revamped with state approval now sought.

The island has fine-tuned its COVID tier system to restrict indoor activities rather than outdoor ones. As currently proposed, tier 3 will limit outdoor social gatherings to twenty-five persons. However, the county plans to limit indoor social gatherings to just five people to encourage them to move visits outdoors.

There are currently no hospitalizations on Kauai but it is still limited in terms of medical resources. The county is now trying to get ahead of the problem.

Mayor Kawakami said that it is “Important that the tier restrictions reflect where we are seeing transmission. Therefore, we are revising our tier chart to allow outdoor activities such as sports, while further limiting indoor group sizes. If you must gather with people outside of your home, stay outdoors and wear your mask.”

Restaurants are to limit seating to six persons in a group when indoors, or 25 outdoors.

Kauai Travel is not set to see any further restrictions.

The mayor said that there are no plans to put in place any impediments to visitors since the changes being established are to reduce community spread. So at this point, the only impact on visitors would be related to the new capacity limitations associated with indoor activities.

Maui’s mandatory post-arrival testing starts.

Yesterday, Maui began its no-cost to travelers, post-arrival testing program for those traveling from the mainland in what the county says was a “soft launch.” The formal implementation is expected next week. The county said that “Your rapid test results should be available to you within 15 to 20 minutes.” How that works with multiple flights arriving at the same time isn’t yet clear.

Maui vaccination exemption to post-arrival testing.

Those with proof of being fully vaccinated are exempt from the arrival testing program but must still pre-test within 72 hours of their mainland to Hawaii flight. Upon arrival, proof of vaccination will be confirmed. Proof consists of
“Presenting your original CDC vaccination card or certificate of vaccination downloaded from the CDC’s Vaccination Administration Management System (VAMS).” — Maui County website.

The only other option is the standard 10-day quarantine at the traveler’s expense, as is also required for anyone testing positive.

Maui wants to determine whether visitors are contributing to the recent spike of cases there. Industry stakeholders, however, are worried about it having a deleterious impact on travel.

85 thoughts on “Maui and Kauai Set New COVID Restrictions | What Visitors Should Know”

  1. If I arrive on Oahu thru United airlines and will be traveling immediately to Maui on a different airline, southwest or Hawaiian what is required? And if I want to travel and stay a few days on the Big island what are their requirements? Do I have to take a pcr test for each island?

  2. Does not sound legit. I receive the Kauai News Paper every day. The. Number of new cases yesterday was 1. And it was community spread. No hospitalizations. This is typical of the daily reports. The problem does not seem to be with travelers. Seems the local population has become lax in their behavior.

  3. Any chance Hawaii will have a simple straight forward consistent unchanging mechanism to enter the state from the mainland by summer 2022? The eight ball says “not a chance.” It also appears that endless Covid restrictions are here to stay indefinitely (see articles on Oregon)…

    1. You must not paying attention to oregon restrictions as they are being lifted and none of the counties went back into the highest lock down.
      We don’t require covid tests to enter the state nor quarantines so how your equating oregon with Hawaii’s restrictions is beyond me. We actually shut down way less than most other states.

  4. We are arriving on Kauai in May . We are scheduled for the

    Rapid Diagnostic Test (ID NOW): The Rapid Point-of-Care (POC) – NAAT (ID NOW) test also detects genetic material of the virus. The test is performed on site with results available within 24 hours.
    From Walgreens. Is this the correct test to get?

    Any help would be much appreciated

    1. Hi Paul.

      The ID Now test is accepted. To validate answers to any questions directly, however, it is best to inquire with the state’s Safe Travels help desk at 855-599-0888 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time.


  5. And out of north of 600 tests performed… Zero positives from even the less accurate quick test.

    Way to start this up as the rest of the country is getting over it. What a waste of money and time.

  6. I hope the gov will announce that people with the covid19 vaccine will be available to avoid the quarantine and testing when traveling from the mainland in June or July i am concerned that the gov hasn’t announced that yet only for inter island travel starting May 11
    Do people have to upload their cdc card to the safe travels app or they can just bring it and show at Honolulu airport

  7. I’ve noticed that starting today that Maui now has a rapid test at the airport. They claim an additional five minutes but, I bet it’s much longer.
    Aloha Guys

  8. They are flying interisland and not from the mainland. Any infection is interconnected. But mainland travelers now have more chance of catching Covid from residents then residents from travelers.

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