You Can No Longer Visit Kauai Without Quarantine, As The Hawaiian Island Opts Out Of Testing Regime

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).

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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. My days of visiting Hawaii are over…don’t see how the Kauai economy can survive with that onerous 14 day requirement…seems as if they don’t care.

  2. Five days is absurdly short notice. People pay for Covid tests 2 weeks or more before travel. Hotels typically have cancellation penalties inside 14 days. That should be the minimum notice required. Either that or these government travel policies need to include a warning label. Caveat viatorem.

  3. Yea, it’s not fair. Neither is the virus. Kauai, even with this “surge”, has noone in the hospital. There are so many new “residents” hiding out that the economy has a boost to it. Many before opening up did quarantine and are here for the duration. Nice hideout if you can afford it.

  4. From a purely medical standpoint you can’t test out of quarantine.

    Any other guidance is completely arbitrary.

    And close contact within 6 feet for an aggregate of 15 mins in any 24 hour period, regardless of personal protective equipment, is considered at-risk behavior (ie flying) with a known contact. And since there’s widespread community transmission then any contact with anyone who fits the above criteria should really precipitate a quarantine order.

    As a physician this makes complete sense to me.

  5. Everyone in the healthcare community predicted this.

    Don’t forget there’s no economy if you’re dead.

    Wish the Federal government had been more like Hawaii’s (or Australia, etc.) as we would all be over with this nightmare by now.

    Stay safe!

  6. We just cancelled our trip in March of 2021 to Kauai and just finished today booking our trip to Costa Rica instead. Things may change by early March but not going to take the chance. Costa Rica is less expensive and they still have wonderful beaches with nice surf and plenty of adventures also. I realize they want to keep their people safe but really how much would it really spread from tourists who are really only spending time with their immediate family on the beach and pool. I think the financial damage to kauai from this new plan significantly outways the health risk posed to the island

  7. # of current Kauai Covid-19 patients in ICU beds = 0

    # of current Kauai Covid-19 patients in Hospitals = 0

    # of booked passengers in next 60 days who must cancel with little or no notice = 50,000

    Damage to Kauai’s reputation, and to its economy — ???

  8. Kauai has 7, count them 7 icu beds. Two are a.ready in use from non COVID patients. Before spouting off numbers learn the real numbers behind them.

  9. I was supposed to be at the Sheraton Poipu 12/14-19. Got the email this morning that the resort is closed until further notice and that my reservation is being canceled. Finding somewhere else warm for our 30th wedding anniversary.

    Doesn’t matter how many people are riding it out in Kauai, there is no way that makes up for this gut-punch to the local economy. Crazy.

Comments are closed.