Hawaii Won’t Re-Open To Tourism Until At Least August

Hawaii has extended its required 14 day quarantine for arriving visitors through the end of July. That means it’s effectively off-limits to tourism until at least August.

They can’t ban travelers from coming to the islands, but they can require quarantines once they land. So for Hawaii ‘re-opening’ means lifting of quarantine requirements. The state plans to:

  • Prepare to do COVID-19 testing on arrival, and potentially require testing in advance of travel as well.

    “Testing before getting on the plane is one of the key components that we are looking at, and really asking the question of how will we be able to verify who conducted the test,” [Governor] Ige said.

  • Install thermal scanners at airports to identify passengers with fevers, along with facial recognition cameras to identify who is reading out with a 100.4 degree temperature or above. The state promises only to take photos of those flagged as possibly having a fever.

Airline bookings to Hawaii in July have picked up substantially. Passengers don’t appear to have expected this. Of course with airline policies allowing penalty-free changes risk of this strategy may have been low to the consumer. The state, which derives 21% of its GDP from tourism, has been lukewarm at best to welcoming back people from the mainland and abroad.

Hawaii has had 653 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 27 are believed to still be active.

(HT: Reid F.)

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. Love that Aloha spirit.

    Can we sell the islands to some other country?
    Their lazy and off-putting attitude fits in well with Fiji or Vanuatu culture. Not America.

  2. Doug, I am not sure your comment fits well today. While I am not happy with this decision for us on the west coast Hawaii is our ” go to” place being just a short fly over. Remember Hawaii is small in size, multi generations live together and its been proven that regions where there are multi generations families all living under one roof or just high density living provides a perfect environment for Covid19 to spread.

    Having said that I was not happy when the governor first floated the opening idea of allowing Koreans and some other Asian countries tourist to enter banning mainlanders that ^^&^%$ me off.

    When they finally open the islands for me I will wait a few weeks before thinking about flying over.

  3. Hawaii’s stance: Let’s allow some Asian tourists, ban the Americans, then ask the Federal government for some bailout money

    I agree with Doug, let’s sell these guys off to the highest bidder

  4. I think the continental US states should quarantine Hawaiians for 2 weeks in retaliation.

  5. Provocative choice of garment by reporter Ashley in the referenced TV news segment—you could even say it’s “spot” on. Hang loose…

  6. A prudent action would be to open up now to visitors from New York, and maybe Alaska, NJ and CT, but keep it closed to visitors from other states with higher R(t) rates.

  7. This is the dilemma that several other places are facing now, and more will before long. “We have significantly limited or eliminated the COVID cases. We don’t want new ones. We also have mass unemployment and skyrocketing poverty because there are no tourists and our economy depends on them. What do we do?” Short of an effective vaccine or a very reliable treatment, it is hard to find an answer, and responses will differ.

    Some Caribbean islands, French Polynesia, the Maldives, Alaska, Mexico, Iceland, for example, are currently much more receptive to tourists, with various types of testing regimes. Hawaii is not, and has apparently decided to sacrifice its tourism industry indefinitely for the sake of not having COVID around. That’s their choice to make, and it’s difficult. Those of us not in Hawaii need to accept it, and either move on to other destinations, or postpone travel.

    Those who propose selling off Hawaii are not being serious. The “highest bidder” would be China.

  8. DaveS, sure it may be Hawaii’s choice to make. But I promise you they will turn around and make it the mainland’s problem once they have maxed out what they can borrow under their general obligation bonding facilities to keep the state employee unions paid, then start borrowing from the Federal government, then start asking for bailouts from every state that isn’t Hawaii because of the debt load.

  9. More ignorance. Hawaii has 340 ICU beds and 541 ventilators. They have just 3070 hospital beds in total across all islands… many of which are already in use. They have a population of roughly 1.4 million. An outbreak would quickly overwhelm their healthcare system. Learn some facts before spouting off nonsense.

  10. Its AMAZING how tons of states wanted or did ban NY’ers when we were in peak, and republicans had NO issue with it. But now that THEY are in peak, and some states that already banned fruit from off the islands want to ban others, they throw a fit.

  11. Poor babies. Hawaii wants to keep its citizens alive instead of having more money. We have 110,000 dead Americans in 3-1/2 months due to Covid-19. We lost 65,000 in 19 years of Vietnam war. We lost 231,000 in WW2. That was 3-1/2 years.

    I think they are spot on. Sorry I can’t visit them but glad they will be alive when I can.

    Stop your crying, put on your mask and get 6 feet away from me please.

  12. Hawaii is unique in that they currently have a very low infection rate because they took action
    early and stemmed the flow of tourists early. Had they not done that I’m sure the situation would have been considerably more dire. No they have to be very careful how they open. Everyone wants to start the rebuilding process ASAP….with the P being the key word. Too soon or without some safety protocols in place could be a much longer term disaster then waiting a few more weeks. I really don’t know if it’s overkill or not and I’m glad I’m not making the decision. But they will have had a chance to test the system inter island and they will have thermal scanners in place by the end of July. Not full proof of course but a big step towards making Hawaii a safe destination when they do open. That’s really all that matters.

  13. It’s been nothing but trouble since Kenya was admitted to the union as our 50th state.

  14. One thing Hawaii is considering is requiring a negative test no more than 3 days before arrival, or a negative test upon arrival. So if half the passengers pass a pre-test, half wait to be tested upon arrival, and one or more of that last group tests positive upon arrival, will everyone who was on that plane then have to self-isolate for two weeks?

  15. Good question! Based on how hard they are trying to keep Covid-19 far away, I would guess they would quarantine all or return them to where flight originated. If I lived in Hawaii, I wouldn’t want all the time spent protecting residents to go up in smoke and allow probable carriers to roam around the state.

  16. Key word “babbling”. It’s fascinating at what level some people have bought this malarky.

  17. It’s nice to see plenty of insightful comments on here. As far as the less insightful comments about Hawaii being filled with lazy non white people, prioritize tourism now rather then cautious reopening, Democrats are ruining the state etc etc?
    Those are the people that would be happier in Florida anyway. Hawaii was struggling with the explosive growth it was experiencing pre pandemic so if what returns is a higher quality more respectful tourist ( as indicated by the many posts here and elsewhere from people that understand what Hawaii is dealing with) it will be a big win for the state when it opens. A little less crowded, a little more refined and a very safe place to visit.
    There is still lots of Aloha here if you are receptive to it.

  18. Is it truly “babbling” or a robot troll? You have to assume that a lot of the incendiary comments posted in the discussion sections of every website are generated by computer programmers just trying to get us pissed of at each other when there really isn’t an “other” there at all.

  19. @Jaymar – quite the witty joke! I do approve, especially given that we have a Birther In Chief right now

  20. My take is that the current approach is the most damaging approach possible, it would be better for the Governor to make a date certain, I’m sure Nov. 7 would serve his purposes, that the state will allow visitors. This current process plays havoc with the airlines and hotels that Hawaii depends on as they have to keep plans in place for aircraft crews, aircraft, and hotel employees for August and a September that are likely to have to be cancelled due to the state’s restrictions.

  21. @ NinLA

    Exactly. My post is a “robot troll” funded by the George Soros, the Clinton Foundation and Bill Gates. The Deep State is fighting back.

  22. Makes sense to me. Most Hawaiian tourists come from dirty states full of rioters and the Chinese virus, like Washington, Oregon, and California. I wouldn’t want those people around, either.

  23. I fail to see how Hawaii will be able to re-open Aug. 1st at the earliest. I had read in the SA that hotels will need, at a minimum, a 30 day heads up before they can service tourists . If one thinks this through it has to do with supplier logistics and getting staff on board and trained to the new standards/practices that covid requires. With so much potential revenue at stake the resort industry are certainly up to the task. The bottleneck is that the governor and his staff are extremely hesitant to give a firm opening date to the businesses in question for a variety of reasons. Until they make this firm date public and stick to it, I foresee that mainland tourist traffic, notwithstanding traffic from Japan, New Zealand et al, has little or no chance of getting the green light this year. You can imagine what the industry reaction would be if the governor, 6 months into the opening, drew back and reinstated the 14 day quarantine. When people are offered too many unknowns and possibilities they err on the side of caution – i.e. they stay home. Damn shame.

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