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:
- 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 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.
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.
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 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.