After several months of delay, Hawaii opened to tourism October 15th. They allowed arriving passengers to skip the mandatory 14 day quarantine by getting a Covid-19 test from an approved vendor within 72 hours of travel.
That’s about to change, because starting Wednesday it will no longer be possible to test out of quarantine when arriving on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. And that’s not the only change we may see.
- The Mayor of Honolulu wants to allow testing on arrival for those who show up with a negative test from an unapproved vendor, and testing on arrival followed by a second test after four days for those who do not get a test prior to departure.
- The Big Island wants to start testing 25% – 100% of arriving passengers, including those that brought negative tests from an approved vendor.
- The Lieutenant Governor has proposed allowing passengers to bring a negative test taken within 96 hours (instead of the current 72 hours), but add universal rapid antigen testing on arrival. The Lieutenant Governor is an emergency room physician and responsible for the state’s arriving passenger testing program.
The Mayor of Honolulu, Mayor of Kauai, and Lieutenant Governor are all believed to be planning to run for Governor in the 2022 elections. The current term-limited Governor is supporting the Mayor of Honolulu. The Lieutenant Governor “was insulting to the Honolulu Mayor’s suggestions and called [them] juvenile.”
The Governor of Hawaii allowed Kauai to opt out of testing as a substitute for 14 day quarantine entirely, but rejected their earlier request for a 3 day quarantine and second second.
People have booked flights and accommodations and planned to travel to Hawaii based on their understanding that a negative Covid-19 test would allow them to visit the island without quarantine and that this is all that would be required. Of course they booked travel based on previous announcements of testing as an option to opt out of quarantine, which got pushed back multiple times before finally launching October 15.
Changes are happening, in some cases with just a few days’ notice, and many arriving passengers aren’t likely to learn about the change until they’ve begun their journey. Regime uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges to travel right now.