The latest Hawaii Coronavirus COVID-19 updates & travel restrictions

The Coronavirus is certainly causing concern around the world. It seems like there’s news about it every minute of the day. We’ve been closely following the situation and updating our articles on Coronavirus in Hawaii on a daily basis.  We’ll continue to update this page as well as our others, but we also want to make you aware of the current situation as well as options and additional advice as it relates to traveling to Hawaii.

Are there any cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 in Hawaii?

Through midday March 29, 2020, there are 175, known, positive cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 in Hawaii. Positive COVID-19 cases have been identified on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii (Big) Island, with the vast majority being on Oahu. We have more details about these cases on this page with Hawaii Coronavirus updates.

What should I do if I have an upcoming trip to Hawaii?

During a press conference on March 17, 2020, Hawaii’s Governor Ige advised that visitors should postpone their trip for at least 30 days. This 30-day pause would finish April 16, 2020. Note that the governor said “at least” so there is a possibility that the crisis and peak of the virus may not be over by April 16. We will all have to wait and see.

Additionally, beginning March 26, 2020, there’s a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all incoming visitors and residents. Visitors must confine themselves to their hotel room during the quarantine. (Details of the quarantine are in the section below.)

If I proceed with my trip to Hawaii, what might I expect?

If you go now, you will not experience Hawaii as normal. In fact, you won’t even be able to enjoy the islands. In recent days, the governor of Hawaii has issued a quarantine period until further notice. As the governor says, it’s best to postpone a trip.

14-day Mandatory Quarantine to start March 26, 2020 

Starting March 26, 2020 at 12:01am, a 14-day quarantine will be 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:

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 Hawaii’s four counties.

The governor said that the traveler is fully responsible for the cost of the quarantine.

How long will the Hawaii 14-day quarantine be in effect? No one knows at this point in time.

Restaurants 

In a press conference on March 17, 2020, Hawaii’s Governor Ige said that restaurants should begin to offer take-out or delivery only. Dine-in services are not to be offered.

Hawaii Events & Attractions – Numerous Closures!

Festivals and special events such as concerts and sporting events are or cancelled altogether.

Basically all attractions, state parks and national parks are shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. See this link for more information on Coronavirus-related Hawaii closures.

Hotels

Some hotels are closing temporally. Hale Koa in Waikiki is closing and Aulani Disney Resort and Four Seasons Oahu are also closing. Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui is closed. Prince Hotels are closed. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is closed. We expect this list to grow.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are open. Some reports indicate empty shelves due to panic buying. The shipment of replenishment supplies is due to continue as normal.

State-wide Stay at Home Orders

Residents are ordered to stay at home with very few exceptions.

Protests and negative sentiments towards visitors

Hawaii is usually a hospitable destination that’s known for aloha, but these are unusual times. There were several reports of protests against visitors on multiple islands.

The DOH is concerned that there’s a growing stigma against visitors despite the fact that the vast majority of the cases are residents who returned to Hawaii after traveling outside of the state.

Check to see if you can get a refund or postpone your trip. 

Explore your options for refunds or postponed trips. If you have a trip booked, look into your options to cancel without penalties.

  • Due to the Coronavirus, many airlines are allowing more lenient travel waivers to allow you to change or cancel your flight without a fee. Check directly with the airline for your booking to understand their policies.
  • Check to see if you can cancel you hotel reservation.
  • Check to see if you can cancel your rental car or transport reservation. Generally, rental cars are more forgiving with cancellations.

What should I know about the Coronavirus and cruises that travel to Hawaii?

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs issued an advisory statement on March 8, 2020 stating, “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.  CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.” See the full statement here.

In light of the Department of State advisory statement, you should learn what your options are for cancellation. Check with your travel agent and/or with the cruise company directly. Additionally, check frequently for any modifications or cancellations to your cruise itinerary.

Princess Cruises announced a voluntary and temporary pause of its global ship operations for 60 days, which will impact voyages departing March 12 through May 10, 2020. Princess is the first to halt services, but they may not be the last in this evolving situation.

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Norwegian, MSC, Carnival and Royal Caribbean began a 30-day pause on cruises immediately. This will include the popular weekly cruise of Hawaii on the Pride of America on Norwegian. Since the original announcement, some cruise companies have announced an extension of suspended services through May 11, 2020. Check directly with the company you’ve booked with for their plans.

When will Hawaii be back to normal after the Coronavirus?

Is it safe to travel to Hawaii in May? Or June? Or July? Or….. We wish we knew when the virus crisis will be over. At this point, no one knows.

The governor’s mandatory 14-day quarantine order is in effect “until further notice.” Also the state’s “stay at home” order is due to continue through April 30, 2020.

Tips & Tricks for Staying Healthy During the Coronavirus Crisis

Here are some tips for avoiding catching a cold or virus while traveling.

– Bring your own 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.

– Use antibacterial wipes on surfaces you’ll touch in a hotel room – such as light switches, faucets, lamp switches, remote controls, telephone, etc.

– Bring hand sanitizer and/or antibacterial wipes that are safe for cleaning your hands. (The Lysol and Clorox-type wipes are too harsh for regular hand cleaning.)

– Avoid touching your face.

– Avoid being around people who appear to be sick.

– Personally, I would avoid buffets.

– Stay hydrated as it helps your immune system.

– 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.

– 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.

37 comments
  1. We are planing to go to the big island in May, still not sure if we should cancel the trip, or how long we can wait before we can cancel without penalty.

  2. What would happen if you travel to a resort in hawaii and the state enforces quarantines. Could travelers leave? Would travelers be confined to their hotel room?

  3. Myself and family are scheduled to travel to Maui on Thur. We are all below 55 years of age and above 5. I can cancel now with limited penalty. Looking for a voice of reason to help us decide…

    1. All we can do is point to the current facts. Maui remains “open” to visitors. Hotels and restaurants are open. Some attractions are starting to close in Hawaii. Most notable on Maui is that Haleakala National Park is temporally closing their visitor centers and sunrise viewing. An active case of COVID-19 has been identified on Maui.

  4. My family and I are scheduled to travel to Oahu for my sister-in-law’s wedding. We have no intention on cancelling but is there anything we should be aware of that could effect our plans? (ie bans on groups of people, closures of restaurants, etc.) Like what’s happening on the mainland.

  5. I’m curious to know more about the restaurant and grocery situation. Any information you can share? Shelves are empty in many states….How is the food situation there (Big Island)?

      1. In a press conference on March 17, 2020, Hawaii Governor Ige said that restaurants should stop dine-in services. Instead they should offer delivery or take-out only.

  6. I am curious about the attitude of Hawaiians having tourists during this time. We are scheduled to travel to Kauai in a month, and while I would hate to cancel, I would also hate to be inconsiderate to others during this time.

    1. The governor has asked visitors to postpone their trip for at least 30 days.

      Tourism is vital for Hawaii’s economy, but we are seeing/hearing some anger and blame aimed at tourists as a whole, because some visitors have unknowingly brought the virus to Hawaii.

  7. Had a trip booked for to Kauai next Thursday, planned since 3 months ago. I was going to go ahead with it, until I saw the governor’s speech today, asking visitors to put off trips for 30days. We are healthy and we plan to really only going to do hikes while we are out there… Should we cancel in lieu of the speech? really been Looking forward to this 🙁

    1. Many state parks where you might hike are closing due to the Coronavirus. All Kauai State Parks are closing effective March 18, 20202. We updated this list yesterday with that announcement.

      I’m sure it’s very disappointing. Hopefully you can plan another trip in the future.

  8. I’m thinking to make a reservation soon by flight in October 2020, is it safe for me to fly to Oahu? I need to know whether I should make a reservation or not. Thanks

    1. We have no way of knowing when this virus crisis will be over. We would hope everything would be settled down by October.

      1. Also, consider if your reservations can be cancelled without a penalty or not. If you can cancel without losing any money, then it may be worth booking and waiting to see what happens.

  9. I am getting married on Oahu in mid June. Should we still keep our plans and see what happens in the next couple of months? It’s not going to be a large group. Curious as to what your thoughts are.

    1. We wish we knew the right answer to give you, but no one knows when this virus crisis is going to be over. We hope it’s all clear by June, but there’s no way to know. If you have the opportunity cancel without a penalty, there’s no harm in waiting to see what happens. Best wishes.

  10. We are scheduled to vacation April 6-12 in Maui, and are not sure we can get reimbursed for our condo. Are the restaurants still open for dine in ? Are the shops in Lahaina open? Do the stores have food and toiletries to purchase for the condo for the week or are the shelves bare? Are luaus still being held? Thanks

    1. THE GOVERNOR OF HAWAII HAS ASKED VISITORS TO POSTPONE TRIPS BY AT LEAST 30 DAYS.

      RESTAURANTS ARE ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROVIDE TAKE OUT OR DELIVERY. NO DINE-IN.

      SOME STORE SHELVES ARE REPORTED AS BEING EMPTY DUE TO PANIC BUYING.

  11. 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.

  12. Landing this Sunday in Hawaii from Australia, leaving on Monday for Phoenix (Hawaiian Airlines). One overnight stay in local hotel. Does this exempt us from any “2 Week” quarantine if implemented in the next couple of days?

    1. So far today, we’ve not seen any news about actual implementation of a quarantine. If it was agreed to move forward with a quarantine, would they be able to get everything in place to enforce it over the weekend? We really don’t know. These are such unusual times to say the least!

  13. I feel a lot of people asking questions are being ignorant and selfish. My family and I planned and paid for a trip to travel April 4th to Maui. Our hotel cancelled it and will refund all monies within 30 days. This is not a selfish time to think about yourselves. Yes.. do not live in fear. if you decide to continue with your trip.. just know, it WILL NOT be the same experience. We go to Hawaii once or twice a year && we are bummed about it… but hold off until curve is flatten. It will get better. My suggestion is reschedule for future… get the credit if you can. Stop the spread… Stay home! From A Registered Nurse..

  14. My son and I are scheduled to visit last week of June 2020. Do you think I should reschedule? I have had no cancellations from our planned day trips or the hotel. Thanks.

    1. As we say in the article, right now (end of March), unfortunately no one knows. It’s best to err on the side of caution with all the uncertainty.

  15. My husband and I have a planned move scheduled to The Big Island on June 1st . Our plane tickets are purchased and we signed a 6 month lease agreement, just before all of this happened. I am not so worried about the plane tickets, but I checked the lease and nowhere does it have a clause addressing this kind of situation. Will we be able to break the lease and stay put or will we be held to making lease payments? Our timing is the worst – but we want to be safe and make sure our future neighbors in Hawaii are safe.

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