Aloha Friday Photo: Night Rainbow + Kauai proposes tiered-system that may require visitors to quarantine + Big Island still unclear.

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Mahalo to Chanon Pathomsarp for sharing this Aloha Friday Photo. We titled this one
“Night Rainbow” because of this neat evening shot facing Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Tower.

Hawaii Travel Update 

As we shared yesterday, Hawaii’s governor expressed confidence in the October 15th start of the pre-travel testing program. As a reminder, the plan will allow visitors to be exempt from the 14-day quarantine, if they provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at an authorized testing partner within 72 hours of the final leg of their flight itinerary. (See hawaiicovid19.com/travel for more details.)

Despite the fact that the concept of pre-testing to bypass quarantine has been known since the original announcement on June 24th, recently some of the island/county mayors are reluctant to move forward with the plan. They don’t believe the plan is strong enough. Ideally, they’d like a second test at arrival and/or 48 to 72 hours after arrival with quarantines while awaiting test results.

As of this morning, which is just six days prior to implementation, Oahu and Maui plan to proceed with the pre-travel testing plan. Kauai and Hawaii (Big) Island are uncommitted to the pre-travel testing plan as is.

Kauai proposing system of tiers to regulate quarantines

Yesterday, Kauai Mayor Kawakami proposed a tiered system that allows or prevents pre-travel tested travelers to bypass quarantine based on a seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases. This tiered plan has been submitted to the governor for approval.

Here’s the description of the tiers from the mayor’s announcement of this proposed system.

“Mayor Kawakami’s proposed Emergency Rule 19 provides a four-tiered system to define allowable businesses and activities, based on the current disease outlook on Kaua‘i at that time.
• Tier 1 is the most restrictive tier. It goes into effect if there is a one-week average of eight or more daily COVID-19 cases. No pre-testing quarantine exemptions will be allowed.
• Tier 2 assumes that the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases is between five to eight cases. Moving into this tier would automatically trigger Kaua‘i to opt out of the state’s pre-travel testing program and continue a 14-day mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers.
• Tier 3 assumes a weekly average of two to four daily COVID-19 cases. At this level, transpacific travelers will be able to pre-test out of quarantine, per the state’s travel plan. Restrictions such as further limiting the size of gatherings and receptions would be put in place.
• Tier 4 is the least restrictive, and is the current level on Kaua‘i: an average of less than two daily active cases. It allows nearly all businesses and activities to operate with minimal restrictions. It utilizes the state’s 72-hour pre-arrival test program to allow transpacific travelers a quarantine exemption.”
Our biggest question regarding Kauai’s proposal is – if it is denied, will Kauai opt out altogether?
Hawaii (Big) Island participation in pre-travel testing plan still unclear

Earlier this week, Hawaii Island Mayor Kim stated that Hawaii (Big Island) County would be opting out of the pre-travel testing program. (For sources, see this link to a Star Advertiser article and this one to Big Island Now.) At the Wednesday press conference, which we covered here, the governor said he had not been informed. Through end-of-day Thursday, there has been no new update.

8 comments
  1. I’m not sure why any visitor would plan a future trip to Kauai if this is enacted.
    I’m glad that I had visited there a couple of times and seen that beautiful Island .
    thank you or this update

    1. I agree, Lopaka. There’s way too much uncertainty.

      Also, can you imagine how difficult it is for hotels, restaurants and tours to make business decisions under these conditions?

  2. I agree…
    I don’t know how they will survive. How can they, in good conscience, do this to their people in the hospitality and related fields. If it is enacted, visitors won’t come and eventually when salaries end, and unemployment and health care benefits run out will they wind up on food lines, etc…
    I have been there twice and seen the beauty of the Island’s wonderful sites, by helicopter, car and on foot, and have no plans to return .Since I’m not returning to Kauai I have no “dog in this hunt”, but in my opinion… This is very cruel to many of the residents, who are not among the very wealthy.

  3. Agree. No reason for a traveller to go unless they have a second home and are will to do the 14-day quarantine, which you’d just have to assume could occur and be ready for. I’m not saying it’s a poor plan – the Governor can do as he pleases – just one that will have only the most hard-core Kauai lovers willingly chancing their time and money. They are likely few, especially with other tropical options available, whether it be within the Hawaiian Islands or elsewhere. While October 15 is the opening day, no one will know the real situation on how things should move forward until December or January.

  4. Do they understand that this virus has a 99% survival and that deaths are down 85%? Come on those businesses need to survive. If people are testing negative them what more do they want? Feel sorry for those that are going to lose everything.

  5. The biggest problem is the vast majority of tourists won’t know where to stand with these complicated rules based on the number of cases on a given island. No one on the mainland is following these statistics. Hawaii is never mentioned on mainland news. The surprise rejection of the quarantine waiver will do great damage to the state’s reputation and enrage tourists that did everything that was asked of them, only to be rejected. I’m all for a second test after arrival and I think an antigen test would do this well enough (plus there is less pressure on the demand for these antigen tests so they won’t deplete the states limited molecular diagnostic capacity). But this island to island variability is a total Charlie Foxtrot in the making. The governor needs to show some back bone, and get the counties to align with one policy that makes sense.

    1. The back and forth is pretty frustrating. I’ve never been to Kauai and have rescheduled my first trip so many times now. My current flight/hotel reservations are booked for October 16th, but there is so much uncertainty now that I’m not sure how to proceed. Our family has an appointment to get a rapid Covid test the day before we travel. Even if we are allowed to “quarantine” at the hotel, would we be able to visit beaches and hiking trails?

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