Hawaii's governor is urging would-be visitors to reconsider their trip to Hawaii until the latest wave of infections has settled. Govenor David Ige said last Monday that "now is not the time to visit the islands," as hospitals reach capacity and resources continue to be stretched.
The success of Hawaii's vaccination campaign saw officials remove some entry restrictions for mainlanders in July, and allowed the state to prepare for a wider reopening of society to bring visitors back to Hawaii in time for summer. Travel rebounded fast though, and Hawaii saw a surge in visitors this summer—with numbers nearly matching record visitation levels in 2019.
Now, as the Delta variant causes COVID-19 cases to rise, local restrictions have been reinstated. And while Govenor Ige hasn't curtailed travel, he is asking visitors to postpone their trips, if they can, until at least the end of October. If you have a trip booked to Hawaii, or are thinking about visiting, here are the latest rules.
I'm vaccinated, can I travel to Hawaii?
Yes, you can if you're a US citizen or permanent resident traveling from a US state or territory. Hawaii is also accepting fully vaccinated tourists from approved international destinations including Japan, Canada, South Korea, and Taiwan.
As per CDC guidelines, Hawaii is closed to anyone who has been in Brazil, China, the European Schengen Area, Iran, India, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom in the past 14 days.
Travelers coming from anywhere else will be subject to a 10-day quarantine upon arrival, regardless of vaccination status.
What if I'm not vaccinated?
You'll still be allowed in but only if you're coming from the mainland or Japan, Canada, South Korea and Taiwan. You'll need to present a negative PCR result from a test taken from an approved provider, no more than 72 hours before departure. You'll then need to register your trip details online through Hawaii's Safe Travels program portal and upload your test results before boarding your flight.
Are there any additional restrictions?
Anyone arriving at any of the islands' airports may be chosen at random to take a test but this will be free of charge and you won't have to wait long to get your results. And all travelers, regardless of where they're coming from, must register their trip details through the Safe Travels program. Some islands may require testing upon arrival.
Do I need to take a COVID-19 test before leaving Hawaii?
It depends on the entry requirements of your destination. At present, travelers flying domestically within the US to Hawaii are not required the get a test before returning to the mainland US—something required by the CDC when returning from international travel.
What COVID-19 restrictions are in place?
Hawaii has reimposed some restrictions on gatherings and hospitality as concerns over another wave of the virus grow. Under the latest rules, restaurants and bars are operating at 50% capacity, alongside gyms and social establishments. Gatherings have been reduced to no more than 10 people indoors and 20 outdoors. Masks are required in public spaces, and social distancing guidelines apply too.
O'ahu is bearing the worst of the surge and is trying to curb infections with the Safe Access O'ahu program. Set to be introduced on September 13, the program requires people to present a vaccination certificate or proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering venues such as restaurants, bars, museums and gyms.
Maui will introduce a similar scheme. Mayor Michael Victorino said a health pass will be required from patrons at restaurants in the county from September 15. Full details on the health pass are expected to be announced on September 7.
Beaches and hiking trails are open across the state, and national parks are accepting visitors too, though not all services and facilities are up and running. Check ahead before planning a visit to see the latest rules.
Source: Lonely Planet