Effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, December 2 visitors to the Hawaiian island of Kauai will have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Pre-travel testing for Covid-19 will no longer excuse arriving passengers from this requirement, as the Governor of Hawaii approved a request by the Mayor of Kauai to opt out of the state’s testing program.
The island of Kauai has just 18 confirmed, active cases of Covid-19 however it also has the fewest ICU beds in the state.
While Kauai doesn’t receive nearly as many arrivals as Honolulu or Maui, this is a blow to the state’s tourism re-opening because it opens the possibility to additional defections from the program, and because it creates additional regime uncertainty that may scare visitors away from Hawaii.
Kauai south shore, credit: Reesed1999 via Wikimedia Commons
People have booked flights and accommodations and planned to travel to Kauai based on their understanding that a negative Covid-19 test would allow them to visit the island without quarantine and that’s being changed, 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).
Oddly the Governor of Hawaii is allowing Kauai to opt out of testing as a substitute for 14 day quarantine entirely, but rejected Kauai’s earlier request to allow people to exit quarantine after a negative test three days after arriving (in addition to their pre-travel test).