Though Hawaii tourism opens 0ct. 15 with pre-travel testing, tours, attractions, hotels may be slower to reopen

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The long-awaited reopening of Hawaii tourism come October 15th with pre-travel testing has been a huge hurdle to this point. Now, assuming all the precautions are safe, opening restaurants, hotels, tours and attractions are going to be the next hurdle. Some are already open with restrictions while others will be opening in the weeks to come.

The reasons for a delayed opening are many, such as:

  • local rules prohibiting or restricting reopening
  • the time it takes to rehire and retrain employees with new COVID-19 restrictions
  • waiting for enough visitors to make reopening viable for business
  • navigating through and implementing the ongoing COVID-19 restriction changes
General Overview of COVID-19 Restrictions in Hawaii

What’s allowed to be open is regulated by island. Check the island county pages for their specific restrictions:

Regulations that appear to be consistent throughout Hawaii are mask wearing, social distancing, reduced restaurant capacity and no buffets. Attractions are mostly allowed to open with reduced capacity. Any attraction with an indoor area is limited in capacity if open at all.

At the moment, Oahu has the strictest regulations with their tier system. They are currently in “Tier 1.” Some of the limitations at Tier 1 that impact visitors most are:

  • restaurants open for no more than 50% capacity
  • restaurant tables limited to no more than five per party
  • parks, beaches, trails limited to groups of no more than five persons
  • zoos, aquariums, museums, botanical gardens limited to groups of no more than five persons and 50% capacity for indoor areas
  • no helicopter tours
  • boating tours limited to 25% capacity
  • for a full list of allowances, see this link to Tier 1.
Sample of the most visited attractions in the Hawaiian Islands

We thought we’d take a look into some of the most popular attractions across Hawaii to see what is and isn’t open. Here’s what we found:

Oahu – USS Arizona Memorial and museum in Pearl Harbor is open, however the theater is closed.

Oahu – Kualoa Ranch is open with restrictions.

Oahu – Polynesian Cultural Center doesn’t have an exact reopening date yet.

Oahu – Hanauma Bay is closed without a reopening date.

Oahu – Diamond Head State Monument is closed.

Maui – Haleakala National Park is open with limitations. The summit is open daily, but the coastal, Kipahulu section has reduced days and hours.

Maui – Iao Valley State Monument is closed.

Kauai – Waimea Canyon State Park is open.

Kauai – Wailua Falls State Park is open.

Hawaii (Big) Island – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open with some limitations.

Hawaii (Big) Island – Pu’uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge) National Historical Park is open on limited days.

Hawaii (Big) Island – Akaka Falls State Park opened October 4th.

For other attractions, check directly with that attraction for their opening hours and/or limitations due to COVID-19.

Hawaii Hotel Openings

We’ve taken a sampling of each island’s largest hotels to see when they’re opening. Here’s what we found:

Oahu – Hilton Hawaiian Village – appears to be accepting reservations starting December 15, though their website says they’re open as of October 1st, but we couldn’t find available reservations until December 15.

Oahu – Disney Aulani – opening November 1st

Maui – Grand Wailea – accepting reservations starting November 15.

Lanai – Four Seasons Resort Lanai – accepting reservations starting October 15th.

Kauai – Grand Hyatt Kauai – accepting reservations starting November 1st.

Hawaii (Big) Island – Hilton Waikoloa Village – appears to be accepting reservations starting November 13th.

Please note that all of the information published on this page on October 12, 2020 was accurate at the time of publishing. All openings are subject to change.

15 comments
  1. CVS Health, though listed as one of the trusted partners, does not do the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT). The ones in my area only do the PCR test. Will Hawai’i soon add to their list of trusted partners? Very frustrating!

    Mahalo.

      1. I will check it out. Perhaps the pharmacists with whom I spoke in CVS Health were not knowledgeable.

        Very helpful.

        Mahalo.

    1. I called my local CVS Minute Clinic today, and they explained to me that they do the PCR test, and then the way it is processed is the NAAT form of the test. They assured me that they are doing the test that Hawaii is requiring.

    2. I’m not planning on traveling for a while, but thought I’d check the CVS site tonight for test information. I am in New York, and as per their site, there is no test site within 100 miles of my location, and there are quite a few CVS drug stores in my area.
      Also, the test results from CVS are, reportedly, usually in 2 or 3 days, but may take longer in peak times. A delay in getting test results could mean unanticipated quarantines for passengers whose tests got delayed. That is a risk that I would not take.
      MAYBE things will change over the next few months.
      As far as the testing upon arrival at Kona, I hope that they can work everything out this month since not as many travelers will arrive now. When the time comes ,and the Big Island Island starts getting more visitors, a number of later flights will arrive at around the same time, I hope that they are ready for it.

        1. yes, that was the site.. ..I just checked again..I used the box”Travel to Hawaii”

          This is what I did… I used the Hawaii State Dept. of Health website.. scrolled to CVS ..clicked on that and then got to the site that you mentioned..
          The first time I put my zip code in and it reported no test in 100 miles.. then typed in New York and got the same answer…
          I’d appreciate it if you’d double check me with using New York as the location..maybe I did something incorrectly. It didn’t make sense that where I live there would be no local test sites..
          I think I’ll check it again now..

          1. Sheila, I typed in Raleigh and also found testing locations, but none near me..I even added local towns, near where I live that have CVS locations and got the same answer as I got before.

          2. I typed in New York, New York and I got the same result as you — no testing sites within 100 miles. Wow, that’s strange! I would have expected many options. Maybe New York is not ready to offer the tests yet? Maybe a glitch in the system? Is it possible New York CVS locations may be running low on tests and they’ve had to prioritize to test individuals who are actually sick? Just brainstorming some possible reasons, here.

        2. Thank you for checking.
          I’m not sure why, I could call CVS, but I’m not planning on going until later in 2021 and, by then, if Hawaii doesn’t develop more covid problems, they should have everything worked out. I have reservations later in 2021, but have many months in which to cancel. If I find the rules not to my liking, or the State adds tests, or restrictions and closures I’ll cancel.
          I monitor the Hawaii News, the Big Island news, and your site daily to keep updated. My wife is in contact with a close friend on the Big Island daily and other close friends pretty frequently so we get some good info.

          1. Surely by 2021, we’ll be in a more stable situation. That’s my hope and prayer.

            I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for your 50th wedding anniversary celebration on the Big Island! 🙂

  2. I urge all visitors to understand that if you come to Hawaii right after the opening, you will NOT have a typical Hawaiian vacation. It is going to take some time for things to get up and running. I live on Oahu and I recommend waiting until the new year to visit.

    In addition to the information listed in this article about Oahu attractions, I’d like to add the following:
    -Waikiki Aquarium: closed
    -Honolulu Zoo: open Wed-Sun only, from 10:00-2:30
    -Germaine’s Luau: currently closed, hoping to open Nov 1.
    -Paradise Cove Luau: closed, hoping to open Oct 31
    -Bishop Museum: open, but all hands-on exhibits and planetarium are closed.
    -Honolulu Museum of Art: open Thurs-Sun only
    -Iolani Palace: open Thurs for docent-led tours and Fri-Sat for self guided tours. Limited admissions, must make reservation ahead of time.
    -Waikiki: no fireworks or shows are currently running. Many shops are closed.
    -All bars and nightclubs are closed.
    -Restaurants can do limited dining-in, call ahead for reservations if possible. However, many restaurants are still doing take-out only.
    -Malls are open, with shorter hours. However, many of the smaller stores in malls and shopping centers are still closed.

    I hope this can be of help if you are planning a trip here soon.

  3. Thank you Sheila…
    We spent our 40th on Maui and hoped to do our 50th on one of the Islands.
    In the past 10 years we have made such good friends on the Big Island that we wanted to celebrate with them. They are extended ohana.
    Let’s hope that the virus can be brought under control and we can all resume traveling and a more normal life.
    Thank you again for all your work on this site.

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