Hawaii Restrictions Changing Again, Kauai May Re-Open To Tourism With 4 Day Quarantine

No Covid-19 restrictions on travelers have been more erratic than Hawaii’s. The state’s planned re-opening date got shared and then pushed back several times. Communication around what tests would be accepted to avoid quarantine was poor. Even the state itself has gotten this wrong, sending a family into quarantine even with proper negative tests.

The island of Kauai even opted out of testing to avoid quarantine entirely after first re-opening with tests. Only their quarantine on arrival was 10 days, not 14.

As of Tuesday December 22, there were 6 known cases of Covdi-19 on the island, and one hospitalization. And on that day restrictions were extended to February 20, 2021. Yet then on Wednesday Kauai’s Mayor was again requesting the Governor’s permission to allow visitors with the state’s pre-travel testing followed by a four day quarantine and release after a second negative test.

What is apparently being proposed now is that in addition to the current pre-travel testing requirement, Kauai visitors enter quarantine at an approved quarantine hotel for the first three nights after arrival. We were told that “If you get a second negative test on fourth day after arrival, they’re out of quarantine.” If this sounds familiar, Kauai previously proposed a similar quarantine followed by second test, that was disallowed by the governor.

The spokesperson said that this could be approved as soon as today, and if so, it would take effect on January 5.

Kauai south shore, credit: Reesed1999 via Wikimedia Commons

Any quarantine will keep people away, and the Kauai proposal would require quarantine in hotels and would exclude vacation rentals.

As I’ve written several times the biggest challenge to travel is regime uncertainty, the constant changing of rules. Travelers can’t make plans when they don’t know whether they’ll be able to travel or what rules will apply if they do. And it’s not just the rules of their destination, what rules will apply to their return home as well? Will they be required to quarantine in both directions?

(HT: Jonathan W.)

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. Agree. Vacation destinations need to make a plan and stick with it if they want bookings. A big part of the joy of a vacation is knowing that you have one coming up in the future. Erratic communication and constant changes in programs rob would be travelers of this.

  2. Please note that at present in San Diego County it is impossible to get a PCR test with a guaranteed 72 hour turnaround for Hawaii from the approved test vendors (the only tests Hawaii will accept). We just canceled our trip! The State of Hawaii is aware of this and they suggested canceling!

  3. Kaui can shove it. Not interested in a 4 day quarantine, despite how much I love Kaui. Just open when you are ready.

  4. Derek the mayor of kauii is the most power drunk incompetent d pol west of como. 1 person in the hospital and he has effectively closed the island and made it drop kiliing major hotels and hundreds of small bizs. I’m on the big island and everything is chill so residents time to start the recall effort

  5. At this time I doubt that anyone still cares about what plan Kauai is proposing today. Because it may change 2 days from now.

    Changing rules and opening/ closing is the worst a destination can do. Eventually, tourists will wait to book a fee weeks after an opening to see whether it sticks. That may kill the hotels as they have to open without gues8

  6. Nobody in the right mind should plan on going to Kauai with the current mayor in office. He has no idea what he’s doing he is not going to be held accountable if you have a negative test you make a flight over oh I change my mind again. I would wait for the city to go bankrupt all the hotels to close up and then make a decision on whether or not you want to go to a deserted island. And the state should not bail out this mayor, he is created the problem he must figure away out of this problem.

  7. how many lives will be lost from destroying your local economy?

    of course they won’t be officially counted.

    no tourist will visit a place with a mandatory quarantine.

  8. i rather live in Kauai or NZ than in Florida with #DeathSantis,
    what good is money when your dead like my Hight School friend who left behind a wife and 3 kids?

  9. Kauai was my Christmas destination for ca. 10 years in a row. Then historic floods washed out bridges past Hanalei and the local government made “much needed improvements” to Haena park and Ke’e beach. St. Regis Princeville was sold and even Sheraton Poipu went downhill. So last year I switched to the Big Island and we love it. (We are currently on the Big Island). Kauai’s Mayor can request whatever he wants but I will not be coming back. Tests, quarantines, does not matter. I am done with Kauai.
    And if you cannot get PCR test in time, just go to Cozumel where no tests are required and where they do truly appreciate you coming there. (Stayed there this Thanksgiving). Safe travel!

  10. Will never go to Kauai, again. They want (white) people there, as much as they want to contract Covid. Hotel workers were rude. Locals were rude. Quite frankly, my beach here in California, is actually kept up. Total waste of money. The ramifications of their behavior, residents on up to mayor, will be felt for years to come.

  11. Kauai’s mayor is playing to the locals for their votes in hopes for a run at the governor’s chair. He’s way over his head and nothing more than a local that grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth!

  12. I’m on Kauai now and have been here since November. I own vacation rentals here & elsewhere and I can assure you that NO one is going to come to Kauai, quarantine in a hotel for 3 nights then spend their 4th day testing, and finally IF they can accomplish all of that in 1 of the 5 Quarantine Hotels (Princeville has a 14 night minimum so they are out) which seems impossible since they would have no rental car for transportation, with the average Hawaii stay at seven days, they’d have two to three peaceful nights left to enjoy the place.
    The mayor’s plan is a waste of valuable time, meanwhile, the restaurants, the grocery stores, and now even our best furniture store on the island are all closing or have went out of business thanks to his poor decisions to opt out of the state’s plan.
    I have not met a single person who opposes a 2nd test upon arrival.
    I also haven’t met a single person who’s going to come to Kauai to quarantine, no matter if it’s 1 day, 4 days, 10 days, or 14 days. This plan does not work.
    It’s DOA.

  13. We have a reservation for our timeshare on Kauai in March. Will we be required to self-quarantine ? Really don’t want to book flights and find out last minute the rules changed again. I am leaning on cancelling the whole trip.

  14. F Hawaii. How many vacations can they destroy. Im in Oahu where I paid $550 to have my family(4) of us prescreened in Chicago only to have Hawaii not accept that or allow me to retest on the island. My six day trip is gonna be 3 days and going home. Who the F is gonna quarantine for ten days in what should be paradise. i thought Illinois was run by a bunch of idiots but Hawaii is right there with us. Bring on the super volcano. F Hawaii
    Not going back

  15. If it were me, I would cancel. This news just in…when we turn the calendar to 2021, it will not be with a magic wand….

  16. Kauai has 77000 residents and 9 ICU beds… the slightest uptick in COVID cases will overwhelm their hospital.

  17. Thank you, Kai, for mentioning the severe lack of ICU capacity here— it really should be mentioned in any discussion/reporting regarding the COVID travel restrictions.

    Yes, Kauai’s economy (& thus residents) are suffering financially from all this- but the consensus is that we’re willing to make such sacrifices to preserve the health of our families,neighbors, and especially our large population of Kapuna (elders.)

    The hostile response by so many would-be visitors is confusing to me considering that the CDC- as well as COMMON SENSE- says we should be holding off on unnecessary travel right now. Is it really asking too much that folk hold off on Hawaiian vacations for a year (or less?)

    Personally I think our mayor, Kawakami, has done a bang-up job; Kauai is one of the least-touched places on EARTH when it comes to Coronavirus infections. The restrictions should definitely continue, otherwise all of our planning & sacrifices will have been for nothing.

  18. What a bunch of selfish vacationers. The local people are only trying to protect themselves as they do not have the medical facilities to cope with the Corona Virus. I visited Kauai three times. I enjoyed the island, the people and their culture. As travelers we need the think of the locals we impact.

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