The Coronavirus is certainly causing concern around the world. It seems like there’s news about it every minute of the day. We are closely following the situation and updating this article as well as our original Coronavirus in Hawaii article on a daily basis.
How many cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 are in Hawaii?
Through midday August 10, 2020, there have been 3,638, known, positive Coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Hawaii. That is the cumulative total since the first case in early March. The total number of deaths stands at 34.
Positive COVID-19 cases have been identified on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Hawaii (Big) Island. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are on Oahu, which is the most populated island.
Over 80% of the cases were brought to Hawaii by residents who traveled outside of the state. The virus continues to spread in the community.
In late July, the state started experiencing consecutive days of record-breaking case numbers. The surge in cases has continued into August. Oahu is the epicenter of “exponentially” increasing cases. Many of the infections have been tied to social gatherings such as beach parties, birthday parties and sadly, funerals. Due to the growing number of cases, Oahu beaches, hiking trails and scenic lookouts will be closed through September 4.
What should I do if I have an upcoming trip to Hawaii?
If your trip is scheduled prior to September 1, 2020, you should reschedule or cancel your trip as a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine is required for all incoming visitors and residents through at least August 31, 2020. Under quarantine, visitors must go directly from the airport to their place of lodging and confine themselves to their individual place of lodging, hotel room during the entire quarantine. (Details of the quarantine are in the section below.) Visitors who have violated quarantine orders have been cited, arrested, jailed and forced to go back home.
A pre-travel test plan was due to be implemented August 1, 2020, but Hawaii officials decided to delay that start date until September 1, 2020. When the plan is active visitors will have an option to avoid the 14-day quarantine by presenting proof of a negative result for a pre-travel COVID test 72-hours before arrival in Hawaii. With a negative test result, visitors will be able to visit Hawaii without a quarantine. If a visitor does not get a pre-travel test, they will be subject to the 14-day quarantine.
Details of the pre-travel testing option are being crafted by lawmakers and not yet available. Per Gov. Ige, the plan will be published sometime in August.
What are the requirements of the 14-day quarantine?
The 14-day mandatory quarantine is currently in effect through at least August 31, 2020.
Starting March 26, 2020 at 12:01am, a 14-day quarantine is required for all incoming arrivals at all Hawaii airports. This emergency proclamation order mandating a quarantine “will be in effect until further notice”, per the governor’s press conference on March 21, 2020. Here’s an excerpt from Hawaii Governor Ige’s press release detailing the quarantine along with a few additions/revisions.
All visitors and residents arriving through Hawaiʻi’s airports will be required to complete a health screening and contact information form. Additionally, they will be required to sign an order for self quarantine. 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 Hawaii’s four counties.
The traveler is fully responsible for the cost of the quarantine.
Individuals who are on the quarantine list are not allowed to rent a car.
Additionally, starting August 11, 2020, an inter-island quarantine will be reinstated. See this link for more information.
For further information regarding restrictions and declarations, see the alerts page at the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
If you have any questions regarding this quarantine order, email local government at: CovidExemption@hawaii.gov.
For general travel-related questions, please contact the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau Call Center at 1-800-GO-HAWAII (1-800-464-2924).
If you are thinking you could break quarantine, we absolutely do not advise doing that! Hundreds of quarantine violators have been caught, arrested, jailed, fined and even sent back home. Their mug shots have been published on televised and printed news sites. Just don’t do it!
What’s opening in Hawaii?
Many restaurants were either closed or offering take-out services only through May. In June, some Hawaii restaurants are returning to limited dine-in services with reduced capacity and social distancing.
Some popular Hawaii restaurants have not survived the economic fallout from the pandemic. They have announced permanent closures.
Hawaii Events & Attractions
Numerous parks, tours and attractions are either closed or just partially open. We would expect that when tourism reopens, more sites will begin to open, though with restrictions of social distancing and wearing masks. It’s really difficult to predict when or even what will or won’t be open.
Festivals and special events such as concerts and sporting events are cancelled through the summer. It’s quite possible that there will be further closures until large gatherings are allowed.
Most Hawaii hotels have been closed but are planning to reopen when tourism reopens..
Grocery stores are open. Some reports indicate empty shelves due to panic buying. The shipment of replenishment supplies continues as normal.
Safer at Home
Initially, Hawaii had stay-at-home orders. The governor is still recommending that residents stay at home as much as possible calling it a “safer-at-home” order.
** NEW shutdown on Oahu in August ** Due to “exponentially” increasing cases on Oahu, all beaches, parks, hiking trails and scenic overlooks will be closed through September 4.
What’s the sentiment towards visitors to Hawaii?
As always, we only give the same advice on this site that we would give to our friends and family. Unfortunately, the sentiment towards visitors is not a good one right now. Hawaii is usually a very hospitable destination that’s known for aloha, but these are unusual times.
Before the quarantine was enacted, there were several reports of protests against visitors on multiple islands. In March, it was reported that the Hawaii Department of Health was concerned of a growing stigma against visitors. A lot of the cases of COVID have been erroneously blamed on visitors despite the fact that the vast majority of the cases were brought in by residents who returned to Hawaii after traveling outside of the state.
In July, the University of Hawaii released the results of a survey of Hawaii resident’s opinions towards the pandemic and also tourists. Some 81% said that they don’t want “tourists come to visit my community right now.”
This opinion piece from the state’s largest newspaper is a sad summation of the negative sentiment that’s been growing in Hawaii. Quarantine breakers have not helped the situation.
Just read any comment thread on any Hawaii news story related to reopening tourism and you will see that the vast majority of commenters don’t want any tourists coming to Hawaii for months to come.
So, if you have a trip planned, go with a hopeful attitude as the Aloha spirit is not dead. Just don’t be surprised if you don’t feel very welcomed outside of the confines of a resort.
When will Hawaii be back to normal after the Coronavirus?
The governor’s mandatory 14-day quarantine order is in effect until at least August 31, 2020. The pre-travel test plan was due to start August 1, 2020, but that has been delayed until September 1, 2020. It’s quite possible that it could be delayed again due to rising cases on Oahu.
Shortly after the announcement of the delayed reopening (from August 1st to September 1st) with a negative COVID test, some leaders are already saying Hawaii won’t be ready to reopen in September. We don’t have any insider information, but with the record-high COVID cases in Hawaii and the way reopening has been delayed, we wouldn’t be surprised to see yet another delay.
Potential “travel bubbles or corridors” with destinations that also have low COVID-19 infection rates is also under discussion. Opening travel with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are the most likely initial travel corridor partners.
Subscribe to our free email updates to be alerted to new information as well as our ongoing Hawaii travel advice.
Tips & Tricks for Staying Healthy During the Coronavirus Crisis
Here are some tips for avoiding catching a cold or virus while traveling.
– Wear a mask.
– Maintain social distancing.
– Avoid touching your face.
– Avoid being around people who appear to be sick.
– Bring hand sanitizer and/or antibacterial wipes that are safe for cleaning your hands. Sanitize your hands after touching public surfaces like handrails on stairs and escalators, elevator buttons, arm rests on chairs, door handles, etc. (Note that Lysol and Clorox-type wipes are too harsh for regular hand cleaning.)
– Use antibacterial wipes – for example Lysol and Clorox wipes — to clean surfaces you touch at your airplane seat. In addition to the obvious, tray tables and arm rests, also wipe the area you would use to open the seat pocket in front of you. (If possible, avoid using the seat pocket at all because studies have shown that they are very germ-laden.) Wipe the air vent, too. In addition to the touch points around your seat, consider using an antibacterial wipe to clean touch points in the lavatory.
– Some experts recommend turning the air vent at your seat on high to help move the air in front of you.
– Use antibacterial wipes on surfaces you’ll touch in a hotel room – such as light switches, faucets, lamp switches, remote controls, telephone, door handles, etc.
– Stay hydrated as it helps your immune system.
– Avoid buffets.
– Consider using a supplement that claims to boost your immune system. How much it helps, we don’t know, but if your doctor approves, it may be a good idea. Experts recommend getting your vitamins and minerals from your food, but when you travel you are not always in control of well-balanced, immune-boosting meals. Personally we’ve had good experience using Airborne chewables when we travel.
– Bring a thermometer with you. The Coronavirus COVID-19 is known to cause a fever.
– Pack a baggie of medicine, just in case you feel unwell.
– Bring a longer supply of prescription medications just in case your trip gets unexpectedly extended or you are put in quarantine.
– Consult the CDC’s travel advice.
– When in Hawaii, call 2-1-1 for general questions about COVID-19.
We are frequently updating this page with new Hawaii and travel-related Coronavirus information as it becomes available. We recommend bookmarking this page. We may also be writing new articles regarding this evolving situation. Subscribe to our free email updates to be alerted to those articles as well as our ongoing Hawaii travel advice.
A word of caution as you read the comments below:
This situation has changed rapidly. Policies that may have been 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.
Once again, we do not know when travel restrictions to Hawaii will be lifted. Nobody knows. When we do know something we will share that information with our readers, so subscribe to our free email updates to be alerted to that information as well as our ongoing Hawaii travel advice.
If you have a question that is not answered in this article,
- See the alerts page at the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
- If you have any questions regarding this quarantine order, email local government at: CovidExemption@hawaii.gov.