Coronavirus travel restrictions for visitors to Hawaii in 2020

With all the coronavirus headlines in the news, you may be wondering what sort of effect it’s had on Hawaii. Naturally, we’re  concerned and paying close attention to the crisis. As such we are updating this page daily.

Should you travel to Hawaii while the Coronavirus is active? 

In a press conference on March 17, 2020, Hawaii’s Governor Ige advised that visitors should postpone trips to Hawaii for at least 30 days. Here are some important excerpts from the press conference:

“With the threat of COVID-19 we need to take care of our people and communities first. I am strongly encouraging our guests to postpone their vacations for at least the next 30 days and reschedule it for a later date. This will help us to deal with the virus first, protect the integrity of our destination and enable us to welcome our visitors back to Hawaii soon.”

“We are also directing the following actions: social gatherings should be limited to groups of no more than 10 following the CDC’s guidelines. All bars and clubs should be closed. Restaurants should adjust their operations to pivot to drive-thru, take-out, pick-up or delivery services only. Closures of theaters, entertainment centers and visitor attractions should commence. We encourage everyone to avoid any discretionary travel.”

On March 21, 2020, Governor Ige announced that a mandatory two-week quarantine is set to begin on March 26, 2020 at 12:01am. This quarantine will be required and in effect “until further notice.” No one knows how long the quarantine may last.

Here are the details of the quarantine per Governor Ige’s press release:

All visitors and residents arriving through Hawaiʻi’s airports will be required to complete a Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture form that will be distributed onboard their flight. They will retain the form when disembarking the aircraft. Upon arrival, they will go through a checkpoint and present the completed form with a valid identification. Checkpoint staff will validate the form and issue documentation that certifies they cleared the checkpoint. The form also includes information on the mandatory requirements for the 14-day quarantine along with penalties.

The mandatory 14-day self-quarantine orders are:

    1. Proceed directly from the airport to your designated quarantine location, which is the location identified and affirmed by you on the mandatory State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture Plants and Animals Declaration Form.
    2. Remain in your designated quarantine location for a period of 14 days or the duration of your stay in the State of Hawai‘i, whichever is shorter.
      • If you are a resident, your designated quarantine location is your place of residence.
      • If you are a visitor, your designated quarantine location is your hotel room or rented lodging.
      • You can only leave your designated quarantine location for medical emergencies or to seek medical care.
    1. Do not visit any public spaces, including but not limited to pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers or restaurants.
    2. Do not allow visitors in or out of your designated quarantine location other than a physician, healthcare provider, or individual authorized to enter the designated quarantine location by the Director of HIEMA.
    3. Comply with any and all rules or protocols related to your quarantine as set forth by your hotel or rented lodging.
    4. If you become ill with a fever or cough:
      • Continue to stay in designated quarantine location, avoid contact with others and contact a healthcare provider for further instructions on treatment or testing.
      • If you are older or have any medical conditions (e.g., immune compromise, diabetes, asthma), consult your regular healthcare provider.
      • If you feel you need medical care, contact healthcare provider and inform them of your travel history.
      • If you need urgent medical care (e.g., have difficulty breathing), call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know your travel history).

Failure to follow this order is a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.  Enforcement will be handled by each of Hawaiʻi’s four counties.

In the March 21, 2020 press conference, the governor said that the traveler is fully responsible for the cost of the quarantine.

We answer some frequently asked questions in this article: What you need to know about traveling to Hawaii during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Are there any cases of Coronavirus in Hawaii?

Unfortunately, yes, there are positive cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 in Hawaii. Through midday March 29, 2020, there are 175 cases of Coronavirus. 

  • On March 6, 2020, the Hawaii Department of Health reported the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Hawaii. The patient is a Hawaii resident of Oahu who traveled on the Grand Princess cruise ship. The patient is reported as being in quarantine at home and doing well. (See this news report for more details.)
  • On March 8, 2020, a second case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Hawaii. The second patient is an elderly man who lives on Oahu and had visited Washington State. He is in isolation at a hospital on Oahu. (See this news report for more details regarding this case.)
  • On March 14, 2020, officials reported that two visitors from Indiana currently on Kauai have tested positive for Coronavirus COVID-19. Prior to their arrival on Kauai, they visited Maui, where they initially showed symptoms. They are currently in isolation on Kauai and away from the general public.
  • On March 14, 2020, two more confirmed cases. The fifth case is a person who had traveled to Colorado from Oahu who was under investigation for the coronavirus and tests came back positive. The sixth case is an Air Canada flight attendant now on Maui. She had been exposed o a coronavirus patient in Germany.
  • On March 15, 2020, the seventh Oahu case was reported. The individual traveled to Florida, then back to Oahu.
  • On March 16, 2020, the eighth, ninth and tenth cases were reported. The eighth case  is a young, female, tour guide at the popular Kualoa Ranch on Oahu. The ninth case is a healthcare worker on Oahu who traveled to Las Vegas, which is now an area designated for community spread of COVID-19. The tenth case is a visitor on Maui.
  • On March 17, 2020, four more cases were confirmed positive. Here’s what’s reported so far about these cases:
    • On the Big Island – a visitor from the mainland. (This is the first case on the Big Island.)
    • On Oahu, the two cases are residents who have traveled to Japan and the Philippines.
    • On Maui, one new case, but initial reports did not indicate details.
  • On March 18, 2020, two more cases were confirmed positive. Both patients are Oahu residents who traveled outside of outside of Hawaii.
  • On March 19, 10 more cases were reported per Hawaii News Now. Eight of the new cases are on Oahu and the other two are on Maui.
  • On March 20, 11 more cases were reported per Hawaii News Now. Ten are on Oahu and one on Kauai.
  • On March 21, 2020, 11 more case were announced. Seven new cases are on Oahu. Two new cases are on Maui. The Big Island also added two new cases.
  • On March 22, 2020, eight new cases were reported. Six of the newly identified cases are on Oahu and two are on Maui per the StarAdvertiser.
  • On March 23, 2020, 21 new cases were reported per Hawaii News Now.
  • On March 24, 2020, 12 new cases were reported.
  • On March 25, 2020, six new cases were reported, bringing the total to 95.
  • On March 26, 2020, 11 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 106.
  • On March 27, 2020, 14 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 120.
  • On March 28, 2020, 31 new cases were identified bringing the total to 151.
  • On March 29, 2020, 24 new cases were added bringing the total to 175 per Hawaii News Now.

Note that early on, details were provided for the initial positive cases. As time progressed and, unfortunately, the number rose, details have not been provided.

Most of the positive cases of COVID-19 in Hawaii are on Oahu. The vast majority of all cases in Hawaii are island residents who traveled outside of Hawaii.

Though not proven directly connected to Hawaii, it’s worth noting that there was a Japanese couple, a Canadian doctor and an Colorado nurse practitioner who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to their homes from their vacations to Hawaii.

We will continue to monitor this Coronavirus situation and update this page as new reports are released.

Precautions Hawaii is taking to prevent the spread of Coronavirus to travelers.

With the source of the coronavirus believed to be from Hubei Province, China, as of February 2, 2020, flights to Hawaii from China have been suspended. Additionally, the Hawaii Department of Health reports that federal authorities are screening passengers at Honolulu Airport. Passengers who have a recent travel history to Hubei Province, China, will be placed in mandatory quarantine until 14 days since they left the province. Travelers that have been to other areas of China in the past 14 days will be allowed to travel to their home or final destination and will be asked to monitor their health at home with public health supervision.

Per the HDOH, “the U.S. Coast Guard will deny entry to the U.S. any passenger vessels carrying passengers that have been to mainland China (which excludes Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau) within the past 14 days. Non-passenger commercial vessels that have been to, or have crew that have been to, mainland China, with no sick crew members will be allowed entry to the U.S., but crew must remain aboard the vessel (U.S. Coast Guard bulletin).”

Festivals, concerts and events that attract crowds have been cancelled. Some farmers markets have also been cancelled.

Several large Hawaii attractions are closed temporarily to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some major ones are:

In addition to attractions, many Hawaii hotels are closed or closing.

Restaurants are limited to take-out or delivery only.

Starting March 26, 2020, Hawaii will begin a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine order for all incoming visitors and residents. See details above.

Hawaii residents are under a stay-at-home order.

When will Hawaii be back to normal after the Coronavirus?

On March 17, the governor asked visitors to postpone their trip by at least 30 days. That 30-day span would be finished by April 16. However, it’s worth noting that the 14-day quarantine order is under effect “until further notice.” Also, the governor’s “stay at home” order for the entire state is due to continue through April 30, 2020.

Will it safe to go to Hawaii in June? Or July? Or….. We wish we knew when the virus crisis will be over. At this point no one knows. It’s probably better to err on the side of caution by postponing your trip even more than you might initially expect.

What you need to know about the Coronavirus

The following Hawaii Department of Health’s flyer provides information about the virus and the precautions everyone should take.

Additional resources for information on the Coronavirus in Hawaii

For more information, check the following resources:

Hawaii Tourism Authority alerts related to the coronavirus COVID-19 Note that this alert page lists many resources as well as travel waivers notices from airlines.

Hawaii Department of Health advisories page for the coronavirus

Center for Disease Control page for the coronavirus

A word of caution as you read the comments below:

This situation has changed rapidly. Policies that may have been valid weeks, days or even hours ago, may no longer be valid. If you read the comments, be sure and note the date.

We are updating this article multiple times per day. It’s better to read this article rather than the comments to know the latest and most up to date information.

63 comments
  1. My wife my daughter and my sister in law are scheduled to visit the big island in mid April 2020 for a week. Are there any restrictions pertaining to their trip?
    Thank you
    Steve

      1. has any of this changed if i wanted to fly there to see my husbdand within the next few days can i? fly there from WV?

        1. Be sure and read the dates of any comments as this situation has changed rapidly! Read the article and not the comments for up to date information.

          Hawaii officials are considering a 14-day mandatory quarantine on incoming visitors. When/if this is implemented, we don’t yet know.

  2. I feel the best advice to help Hawaii, is watch people all people coming into Hawaii right now March 8, before we have the Covid 19 out of control in Hawaii, because for one we have a lot of people coming in from Asian countries, that bring our bread and butter money in Hawaii. I live on Maui and is born here on Maui, I’m 67 years old I have said nothing before about people coming into my islands that I was born on and live here, but this time I’m opening my “MOUTH” by saying please help us older ones and watch who is coming into our islands! Aloha…..

    1. We wish we had a definitive answer for you, but unfortunately no one does.

      All we can do is point you to the facts that are known as of now. There are two confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Hawaii and those individuals both live on Oahu.

      If you are concerned about your trip, it might be helpful to consider your options. Many airlines are offering travel waivers.

  3. Are they testing anybody? Hard to have positive cases if no testing is happening. How many have been tested negative in Hawaii?

    1. James,
      Therein lies the problem
      I’m attending an MCAA conference in Mauii this weekend
      and I’m alot concerned that the DOH in Hawaii has turned a blind eye to this
      for whatever reason. I gotta feeling its going to get ugly this weekend after a number of test results come back. I guess they can afford it, attendance will be more profitable than any litigation it may bring.

        1. The Star-Advertiser is a reputable news source.

          Have you checked to see if you can cancel your flight, accommodation and such? Many airlines and hotels are offering the travel waivers in light of the Coronavirus.

  4. I’ve been planning a trip since last year for May 14th-17th. I’m concerned because my elderly parents live with me, and I’m going with my 3 year old. I don’t want to go if everyone is in panic mode, or if there is a long quarantine period.

    1. So much could happen between now and then that it’s impossible to know what to do now. Your trip is two months away … thinking hopefully, that could possibly provide enough time for the virus to slow down significantly.

    1. It’s as “safe” as any other travel…arguably “safer” than flights to/from outside of Hawaii due to the shorter duration. However, the Hawaii Department of Health states the following advice:
      “Seniors are at a greater risk for COVID-19, especially those who have underlying health conditions. Older adults and individuals with underlying health issues should avoid non-essential travel, including cruises. Neighbor island residents with scheduled medical treatment or follow-up care on Oahu should consult with their doctors. Seniors should avoid large crowds, wash their hands often, and keep medications and groceries on-hand.”

  5. Supposed to come to Kona on April 1st and we are still wanting to come. I have read the articles and will stay up to date. My questions though is will restaurants be open, and will there be food/supplies in the grocery stores? We will be in a condo so we are fine with cooking all of our own meals but want to make sure there will be food available!

    1. We haven’t heard of any plans to shut down food supplies and/or restaurants. As of today, restaurants are operating as normal, though probably not as busy as normal.

  6. Hi Sheila,

    I live in the UK and am due to travel to Honolulu on the 31st March. Does the recent travel ban by the US include Hawaii?

    1. In the governor’s press conference yesterday, he said restaurants should stop dining room service. Instead, he recommended restaurants move to take-out only.

  7. I work for one of the major activity company located on Waikiki Beach, offering Surf/SUP lessons, Outrigger Canoe Surfing and Beach Umbrella & Chair rentals. The business is still open. It would be best to contact the hotel directly and also activity companies that you were interested in participating and to visit to see if they’re open.

  8. I’m scheduled to fly to Maui tomorrow. I had reservation for a Haleakalā sunrise which was cancelled. Is there any restrictions in doing to Road to Hana?

    1. As far as we know, the road to Hana is open for anyone to drive. You will likely encounter closures along the way. For example, one of the most spectacular parks along the way, Wai’anapanapa is closed.

      The governor of Hawaii has asked visitors to postpone trips by at least 30 days.

  9. I have flights to Honolulu from San Diego this Saturday. been to Hawaii many times so we wouldn’t be doing any sight seeing. was just thinking of hiking and going to the beach and getting take out food. I know the governor’s request not to visit. as a local living there, would you recommend that I cancel my trip?

  10. Hello there!

    This is such a helpful website especially for those of us who have planned trips to Hawaii. Okay so I have destination wedding I’ve been invited to attend mid July in Princeville Kaui. I’ve been planning this trip for a while. I’m hoping the virus will have slowed down significantly beacuse I really want to go. I’m hearing airline travel may still not be safe because of the recycled air in the cabins. If one person gets sick on a plane then it could spread to everyone else too and get them sick. Is this true? Will it be safe to travel in late July? How can I reassure my partner? Everything is up in the air and I’m not sure what to do. I’m praying for world’s speedy recovery and health these days. Thank you so much in advance.
    Miliana

    1. Thank you for the kind words.

      Many airplanes have HEPA filtration systems which filter out nearly all viruses. (HEPA filtration systems are used in hospitals to prevent the spread of airborn germs.)

      It’s the close proximity to people who may be carrying a virus that’s more of the concern. As you said, hopefully by then the virus would have slowed down and there won’t be as much of a chance of being near an infected individual.

  11. Thank you for informing the public on essential issues. I’m going to postpone my dream-trip to the big island for better times. In the case of a pandemic, every human has to be responsible and stay at home unless some urgent affairs.

  12. My wife and I have a fully paid for up front vacation for our 12th anniversary in last part of August / first week in Sept on Kauai. We are scheduled to fly into the Big Island airport, then a puddle jumper to Kauai.

    Do we need to cancel this trip ? Worst part about this is our drivers licenses will no longer be good to travel on after Sept. 20th, so a later trip is not possible for a long time.

    What do we do ?

        1. There are no current travel restrictions or disruptions of flights between Hawaii (Big) Island and Kauai or any of the islands.

  13. My family will be traveling to Hawaii in June for 2 weeks and I was wondering if that is far enough out to be safe. I am hoping everything will be back to normal or closer to normal by then to be a good vacation., What do you think ?
    Just looking for some assurance I really really need this get away I work a high pressure job and I need the break.

  14. Everyone just needs to stay home for at least 2 to 4 weeks. I know Hawaii is a wonderful place to visit. But think of the local people that live there. Think about how big are the hospitals and are they able to take care of a lot of people if it blows up full force. A person can always reschedule. Its not the end of the world to postpone. Just stay home.

  15. Aloha,
    My family and I are visiting Molokai and will be returning to Kauai on 3/22/20.
    Do you know if there will be an inter- island quarantine between now and then?
    Mahalo,
    Chris

    1. We have not heard of plans for that, but that’s not to say that it could be within the realm of possibility.

  16. I am hoping to visit Maui this summer again, but I would not want to expose the people of Maui to any illness. I will schedule but if Covid-19 gets worse I will reschedule for sure. On the mainland where I live we have no confirmed cases. Praying this is over soon. Thanks for all your advice.

  17. ATTENTION:

    For anyone reading the comments, be sure and note the date. This situation has changed rapidly and what was true a week ago or days ago have probably changed.

    Be sure and read the main article to learn the most recent information. The article is updated multiple times per day.

  18. My family and I are planned to arrive on April 1. This trip was planned for months now however all experiences are closed and we are being asked to postpone our trip. My work schedule does not allow for a different time of the year to travel for vacation. IF we decided to continue with our travel, would there be a quarantine period is traveling from Michigan?

    1. As of today, we don’t yet know when a potential quarantine would be implemented or any details. This week, the Lt Governor proposed a quarantine of all visitors coming to Hawaii.

  19. Aloha everyone-
    I live on Oahu. PLEASE do not visit our state right now; it is simply not a good time!More positive cases of coronavirus are popping up every day. All the attractions are closed, parks are closed, restaurants are take-out only (if they are even open), food stores are stretched thin, and emotions are running high. Do yourself-and us-a favor, and postpone your trip. PLEASE!

  20. For travelers who are visiting friends on the island, are they allowed to quarantine at the friends house or are they supposed to have separate lodging?
    I do understand that postponing or cancelling trips are probably the smartest thing to do but I just had to ask.

    1. That’s a question that should probably be directed to the governor’s office or county mayor’s office for clarification as we’ve not heard them addressing that scenario in press conferences.

    2. If I were the visiting friend, I’d stay home and not risk infecting my friends on the island by me quarantining at their home or risk loosing that friendship due to spreading the illness to them, or even death… even to others that I may infect in other lodgings or hotels, etc.
      That’s what a true friend would do, stay home.
      Your island friends will understand and appreciate your thoughtfulness immensely.

  21. If I’m already in Hawaii can I still fly back home without any issues? Or Are all flight leaving the islands canceled?

    1. Assuming you are well and not likely to infect others and assuming flights are available, you should be able to fly home.

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