Hawaii Begins To Lift Restrictions – But Only For Their Own Residents

During the coronavirus crisis Hawaii has kicked people off the island who couldn’t possibly have brought the virus there and still be spreading it. They use the virus as an excuse to push out Airbnb rentals which compete with local hotel owners as well as trying to keep tourists segregated in resort areas.

They’ve considered requiring anyone coming to the islands have a ticket to leave. Again, that does not thing to stop the spread of the virus, and just represents using the virus as a mask for hate-filled legislation.

So it’s not surprising that even as Hawaii sets to re-open intra-island travel without quarantine June 16, they’re doing so for local residents only – placing restrictions on Americans who don’t live in Hawaii – even though there’s no coronavirus-related rational basis for disparate treatment.

State Attorney General Clare Connors said once the quarantine is lifted, inter-island travelers will undergo a temperature check and complete a declaration form. Using a master list, authorities will also confirm that they’re not mainland or international travelers, who are still subject to a quarantine.

Hawaii’s government might say that the issue is volume and that the discriminatory approach of limiting freedom of travel to state residents is one way to keep is manageable. A ‘master list’ of outsiders, to them, is a more desirable approach than greater virus testing and hiring more contact tracers.

On the positive side, several resorts are expected to offer residents free parking and waived resort fees.

It does seem though that Hawaii wants to build a wall and make Los Angeles pay for it.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I tried reading what you wrote. There are so many grammar and other typo issues in this that really make it difficult. You need to spend like 2 seconds doing proofreading before you hit publish. Is it that hard? Would make you so much more credible. What’s the rush? It’s not like you’re in an Uber late for your flight running through the airport (and even that was a weak excuse).

  2. The really bizarre thing is that AirBnb would be a perfect way to get tourists to come… How about this? You can rent a singele-family house in Hawaii, but you have to stay quaratined for two weeks, you can even give the tourists ankle bracelets to track their movements. I can think of a lot worse ways to spend two weeks than at a beach house with pool in Kauai… In fact, if this was an option, I’d seriously consider it. And then you can stay on the islands as long as you’d like. I can imagine this being attractive to people who are teleworking and would like a change of scenery.

  3. This is VERY illegal. Maine tried something similar and the US government just sued them. Bottom line is all US citizens must be treated equally by all states. If you don’t like this rule then feel free to secede, otherwise you are part of the US so need to act like it.

  4. Please take this post down. Itʻs full of mistruths, is ignorant, and is unnecessarily inflammatory.

    1. The lifting of the inter-island travel applies to EVERYONE, not just Hawaii residents. Any “American” may travel inter-island without having to quarantine for 14 days.
    2. The trans-pacific/international mandatory 14 day quarantine applies to EVERYONE, “Americans” and Hawaii residents.
    3. There has been no “hate-filled” legislation and nothing specifically against Airbnb. A lot of Airbnb rentals are illegal since Hawaii has strict zoning laws so please donʻt make statements like the state wants to “keep tourists out of Hawaiian neighborhoods” or “neighborhoods are only for locals” or “protecting the local hotels.” There are legitimate reasons for these zoning laws (limited land, infrastructure, high cost of homes), but it has nothing to do with being “hate-filled” or “discriminatory.”
    4. There is definitely a coronavirus-basis for these policies. Almost all of the coronavirus cases in Hawaii were travel-related (residents returning home and tourists) which then led to small clusters of community spread. Once the quarantine was enacted the curve was not just flattened, but squashed. Hawaii has extremely limited healthcare resources (9 ventilators on Kauai) so these policies were reluctantly enacted to protect the community at the expense of the economy.
    5. Our Governor is incompetent and indecisive and was slow to act at the beginning to close things down and is once again slow to act to reopen. It has nothing to do with “hate,” “discrimination,” or being anti-tourist.

    Once again, I ask that you please update this post to be factual or take it down.

  5. Must’ve missed your previous articles on Florida’s or Texas’s restrictions on certain out of state travelers. Not too sure how either of those materially differ from Hawaii’s restrictions here.

  6. Gary, you really have a beef against locals living in the middle of the Pacific and against the government trying to do its best, even as that idea of government doing it best may be trying at times for residents. You rant against Hawaii for your personal interests, which of course are pegged to your income. Your insulting piece yesterday was no more judicious in its narrative.

    Can you honestly propose that Hawaii is really doing any better/worse than any other state/country? Can we even be held in the same category considering our geography and economy. Is your pandemic playbook really the answer?

    Actually, perhaps I should be thanking you with a sincere mahalo. After all, such careless knee-jerk posts of yours may actually dissuade visitors from coming who don’t have the spend or won’t want to make the spend that is a greater good for the islands than simply herding anyone over. Also, you’ve moved me past View From The Wing. I’m done with you and your blog. Life is too precious for such waste. Aloha.

  7. It’s interesting to compare Hawaii with Alaska. Both states had similar restrictions on out-of-state travel but Hawaii’s were enforced while Alaska’s were effectively voluntary for individuals (companies hiring out-of-state workers generally comply). The results have been about the same so far.

  8. I’m also going to go ahead and delete View From The Wing from my read list at this point. The rants against Hawaii are silly click bait, fueled by some sort of odd personal grudge. Not a thought leader, just another hater offering up a stream of negativity toward Americans trying to manage their state through the challenges of COVID-19 as best they can.

  9. I gave Hawaii a “pass” on a lot of this for the months I’ve been following this issue.

    That ended when the Lt. Governor and Hawaii’s tourism industry proposed opening up the islands to visitors from Japan with a “clean” covid test, while US citizens would still be required to quarantine for 14 days. There’s any number of easily found public domain interviews where Hawaii’s elected officials have recently pretty much referred to stateside US citizens as ” unwanted tourist trailer trash”, while visitors from Japan are high spend and desirable.

    The vitriol in the TA Hawaii forum – and many others – against US citizens is over the top. I agree with Gary – the hate and hostility is thinly disguised – as is the rationale for quarantine and quarantine as a rationale for shutting down short term vacation rentals.

    If quarantine was truly the issue, returning residents would be required to stay in one of the government authorized hotel accommodations under the lock and key similar to non-resident US citizens arriving from the mainland. But they’re not. They’re able to go to homes to quarantine on the honor system, while no one else in the home is under quarantine. They are living in the same quarters with a returning resident who could have Covid, going to the grocery, going wherever they want. HUH???? How is that about containing Covid?

    I’m mostly with Gary on interpretations. I had to stay off line for a week just to discuss rationally because the response of Hawaii’s elected officials produced an almost visceral negative reaction in me. And as far as Gary’s piece being inflammatory, well, perhaps it should be. All US citizens should know what Hawaii’s elected officials are trying to broker with other countries and the very public statements they’ve made about non-Hawaii resident Americans.

    Lastly, big difference between Maine, Texas, Alaska, etc., in every way that’s actually germane. Alaska’s not shutting down vacation rentals, leaving Americans monies held hostage in many cases. Maine’s not slapping every American in the face by saying “Hey, Canadians, you all want to come visit without quarantine? We’re only imposing those requirements on Americans from other states.”

  10. @GLeff, utter joke. Bashing on Hawaii, but once travel returns – you’ll be furiously pimpin/pumpin
    credit cards/”The 50 Best Ways to Get to HAWAII… (with the points from the credit cards i just pumped). What a two face.
    @All other cry babies – SUPER simple… stop crying and don’t come. Why are you wasting energy?

  11. What JT said. “No coronavirus-related rational basis for disparate treatment”? How about the fact that there are currently 27 diagnosed, active Covid-19 cases in the whole state, with little variation in the rate of infection among islands? We’re not going to circulate the virus to each other if none of us have it. Bringing people in from areas with more active cases will. We’re going to have to do that sooner or later and I’m plenty unhappy that our political leadership isn’t working harder to get tourism restarted without blowing up case numbers any more than we can avoid, but that’s driven by a mix of real public health concerns and basic incompetence, not animus toward mainlanders. OTOH, your BS posts on what’s happening in Hawaii are certainly offering up a fine example of the sort of mainland haole arrogant self-righteousness that most of us are pretty happy to have a break from. (And I’m a mainland haole myself, albeit one who’s lived here for 25-plus years and who’s learned to defer gratification without throwing a tantrum.)

  12. I understand Hawaii quarantine rules. I think it makes traveling there for me on vacation a non-starter, since I tend to travel in 2 week blocks. Common sense says that it is difficult to run a tourism economy, if you quarantine all tourists.

    However, I am surprised by the number of people in the comments who claim to be native Hawaiian, with hostility towards the USA mainland.

  13. Can you please stick to the facts? You say “no coronavirus-related rational basis for disparate treatment” — data says 0 new cases and 0 new deaths in Hawaii yesterday and a total of 17 deaths, vs 22,153 new cases 730 new deaths and 106,925 total deaths in the USA.

    That’s a HUGE coronavirus-related rational basis for disparate treatment

    You’re supposed to be an expert and you’re digging yourself into a hole with these falsehoods. And stop acting like a toddler throwing a tantrum because you can’t get a toy (or, in this case, a trip to Hawaii that you seem to crave so much); an expert acts like an adult.

  14. @Joe Patriot anyone can sue; only judgments prove something.

    The US Constitution’s 10th amendment enshrines the right of States to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders, and yes, they have the Constitutional to impose quarantines.

    The mainstream media is full of lies.

  15. More fake news from the self-proclaimed “travel thought leader”.

    What’s with your war on Hawaii? The situation with illegal vacation rentals is a lot more complicated in Hawaii than what you post here.

    Do you also have a war on Alaska that also has a quarantine and will have testing requirements (quarantine waived for those arriving with negative test results or test at the airport upon arrival) on June 5?

    Hawaii will implement something similar to what Alaska is doing with additional contact tracing requirements in order to attempt to continue to contain the virus because of the extreme lack of ICU beds, etc in Hawaii, even more so on the neighbor islands.


  16. Yikes. Someone is whiney. This is why Hawai’i has such issues with mainlanders. It is a minority majority state. It may be a US state but it’s culture is nothing like the mainland. It has the collective Asian “we” mindset versus the individualistic Anglo-Saxon “I” view of the mainland. Hawaiians are first and foremost going to take care of their islands and themselves. If that means you can’t come and lounge on the beach then so be it. They don’t care. They Have viewed the mainland with suspicion since they ever became a territory (and You can’t blame them). Mainlanders complaining and demanding they open up now just fuels their anger. You sound like the people screaming to reopen because you want a haircut except in this case you want to what? Sit on a beach? You do realize that citizens on other islands have to fly to Oahu to see specialists because their hospitals aren’t big enough? Some of them only have 2-3 ICUs on the island. If an outbreak happens it could be catastrophic. No, they don’t care about you. Once they know they can protect their citizens and islands, they’ll open up. And if I were a citizen there, I would’ve demanded long ago a return ticket. The homeless population is out of control and the % of them that are actually from Hawai’i is extremely small. And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s an island with only so much land. Air BNBs take up valuable land and housing which is causing unsustainable rising housing costs. The local population is being priced out of the islands and having to leave while the rich mainlanders are turning it into playground. If you need a beach, go to Florida. But to call Hawai’i having hate filled legislation because you have some bizarre beef with their own culture is truly weird coming from a traveler who is suppose to be more opened minded towards other cultures. And to say they are segregating tourists…please, quit playing the victim. It’s really embarrassing.

    *Deletes website from favorites list*

  17. I agree with Dan on the fact that Hawaiians are not inclined to provide good service or care about tourists. I have been there twice and both were terrible experiences. I do not intend to ever come back, especially now that Hawaii has shown its true self.
    If you plan your economy to be tourist and visitor based, then you need to develop a culture of service toward visitors, protectionism is incompatible with tourism. Hawaii needs to make a clear decision, is it a pro-tourist place or not, and act accordingly.
    There are so many great pacific islander places that are truly happy to cater for visitors, there is no need to waste your time and money on a place that truly doesn’t want you to be there.

  18. Wow lots of passion in these comments. I can see the reasoning for quarantine up to this point but what concerns me is allowing Japanese or other places to access the island but keeping it closed to the mainland. After all it is mainland tax dollars that support stimulus, unemployment, etc. I also don’t see how you can keep someone who lives in Hawaii from returning to the mainland to visit after a certain point.

  19. @Mike, MAHALO! for not EVER coming back. Not only other great Pacific islands, but have at the Maldives, Boracay, Krabi, et al. Very beautiful!, they cater to visitors and best of all… you won’t be wasting your time and money there! How can you lose?! So please bring all your fellow cry babies with you and don’t forget to shut the (airplane) door behind you. And while on the plane to one of your other “great places”… please read @WrightHI post above, it’s spot on.

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