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.