When travel to Hawaii reopens, will COVID-19 testing of visitors be required?

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Now that the daily number of COVID-19 cases is in the single digits and once even at 0, Hawaii’s government has started its first phase of opening some parks and retail shops for local residents. Restaurants are still closed for dine-in service. Salons are also closed. So, there’s still a ways to go for the Hawaii economy to open up to the state’s residents.

Reopening Hawaii’s travel industry remains a major unknown in terms of when and how it will open.

The Star-Advertiser hosted a Q&A with Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor, Josh Green, on May 8th. In this Q&A, he shares a vision for the process to reopen tourism. He described the following policy which is being favored right now:

Incoming visitors would have to test negative for COVID-19 prior to vacationing in Hawaii. Here’s how it might work:

    • Ideally, visitors would go to a national mainland pharmacy, for example CVS, for a test just prior to their vacation. The test results would either be entered and accessed through a database or with a document in “domestic customs” upon arrival in Hawaii.
    • If the visitor didn’t get a test prior to their flight, they would have to be tested at the airport in Hawaii. This process could take several hours. The visitor could possibly have to go into quarantine for a day, until their result indicates negative for COVID-19.

Lieutenant Governor Green also indicated another factor that is important for reopening Hawaii for visitors. He said that they will be watching the COVID-19 rates from the US Mainland, which is Hawaii’s largest visitor market by far. If the rates are low, they shouldn’t have much trouble opening tourism.

You can watch and listen to the Q&A in the embedded video. Note that the talk about tourism starts at around the 11-minute mark.

So, that’s what one of Hawaii’s top government officials is favoring. Will this proposed policy be the one that is implemented? We will have to wait and see.

When could tourism be reopened? That’s a big question for now! If what the lieutenant governor described is implemented, the processes, equipment and logistics of setting up the testing is not something that can quickly be put in place.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and report to you when there are further indicators of reopening tourism in Hawaii.

For now, just as a reminder, the 14-day mandatory quarantine (described here) is still in place. The current 14-day quarantine order is in effect through May 31, 2020, but according to KITV, officials are already saying that it is likely that the order will be pushed back to a further date.Β  This is not a time to be visiting Hawaii.

What do you think of the proposed policy?

Note: the testing concept before traveling to Hawaii is now referred to as “Travel with Aloha.”

This situation is evolving so subscribe to our free email updates to be alerted to new Hawaii travel information as well as our ongoing Hawaii travel advice.

12 comments
  1. I think it’s great to be cautious. The island is limited in resources and those resources should go to the residents – not the tourists who come to the island sick. As a flight attendant I miss my Hawaii layovers and my friends/family on the island but I don’t want to be part of the reason the island gets sick. Take your time, we will come back when it’s safe.

  2. I’d be very open to being tested on the mainland before coming and as a 2nd choice being tested at the airport upon arrival. The waiting for test results on the airport seems problematic as someone who has been on the plane then sitting around the bar at the airport.

    Hawaii has some parallels in thinking through reopening as the theatre district in New York City. Since both are dependent on people traveling in the need to get the reopening right the first time is imperative. I agree with the previous comment from an airline employee about taking the time to be cautious.

    I was reading yesterday a discussion about in recent years Hawaii has attracted more visitors who spend less money; something I’ve observed. I reason that a slow reopening might target the higher-end traveler.

  3. I wonder if it would be safe to say an October trip would be a time?? Just a thought…getting ready to make a trip there with my daughter…missed out on a trip with my mother for personal reasons. Then misses a trip for my own health reasons…ready to make a memory with my daughter.

    1. We would hope that October would be safe as that’s five months away from now. There are still a lot of outstanding questions and no one has experience in restarting tourism with a global pandemic. Fingers crossed. πŸ™‚

  4. I wouldn’t have a problem if testing was required prior to travel. However, what happens if you test positive? Obviously you don’t go but then you are stuck with nonrefundable airfares, etc. This would stop me from planning a trip even though I love Hawaii.

  5. Unfortunately the timelines will be extended further and further, because the “elite globalists” of the world are trying to collapse our economy so that they can bring forth a one world government. They have been planning for this moment for a long time and now that they have the right vehicle (“cov 19”) to orchestrate it, they are going full bore with their continued scare tactics. The so-called experts Fauci – Birks – Gates etc. etc. that everyone is blindly following, have been wrong every step of the way. Every prediction has been vastly overblown and inaccurate. The numbers prove that this virus is incredibly serious to a very small percentage of the population (elderly and or those with serious pre-existing conditions) but for the vast majority it is no more harmful than the yearly flu.
    I implore you to do your own homework, these numbers are indisputable, but the “elite globalists” have the mainstream media in their back pockets spewing nothing but fear gloom and doom! Their long-term plan (in addition to collapsing the economy) is to force you to take the vaccination in order to be able to buy or sell anything and everything. Educate yourself on Gates and Fauci etc. etc. all the info is just a google away, at least for right now. Put your hope faith and trust in Jesus Christ, he loves you and will save you.
    May God Bless you all, in Jesus name amen.

    1. This is not the place or forum to get political and least of all your conspiracy and religious views. Maui(Hawaii) is our preferred vacation destination as we have a place there. These Islands rely on tourism and people who care about the Islands deserve respect. We Island lovers too want to return ASAP. Hope this gets figured out soon.

    2. Absolutely agree with your observation. We will live with this virus, and many others as we do not live in a sterile environment. The lack of tourism will be more harmful than the low risk of illness. People must get on with their lives! I hope they decide that a plan to test ahead of time allows visitors to enjoy their vacation, sooner than later!

  6. So if you have a trip there the first week in June and you get tested before hand and it is negative would it be safe to come?? My son and daughter n law are living there.

    1. IF the procedure is put in place by the first week of June, then it’s possible. However this concept is still just a concept. There aren’t any plans yet for actually implementing it and no timelines for it.

      1. The governor of Hawaii has just announced “Certainly we will be extending the 14-day mandatory quarantine for all travel into the state till the end of June”

  7. The policy is insane! This will kill Hawaii as a tourist destination, bringing more misery, poverty, and despair to the brave Hawaiians than the virus itself. But then, the people have elected these jokers, fair and square, so blame yourself now, but vote them out in November.

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