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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not visit any public spaces, including but not limited to pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers or restaurants.
- 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.
- Comply with any and all rules or protocols related to your quarantine as set forth by your hotel or rented lodging.
- 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:
- Pearl Harbor National Memorial – including USS Arizona Memorial – notice
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Hanauma Bay, popular Oahu snorkeling site is closed.
- Kualoa Ranch – notice
- Haleakala National Park
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- See this new article with list of more, major Hawaii attractions that are closed due to the Coronavirus.
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.
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.