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Hawaii Issues New Rules for Travelers—Here’s What You Need to Know

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The Hawaiian islands are calling as long as you are up to date on the latest travel requirements.

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The Hawaiian islands are calling as long as you are up to date on the latest travel requirements.

The latest on Hawaii’s pretravel testing program and when a quarantine will still be required.

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On October 15, Hawaii launched its pretravel testing program allowing travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to avoid an otherwise mandatory 14-day quarantine. But there have already been some updates and changes to the program.

Most notably, effective December 2, Kauai is reinstating a 14-day requirement as it works to control a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Testing will not be accepted in lieu of a quarantine for travel to Kauai.

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Hawaii’s pretravel testing program

Another update to the pretravel testing program is that out-of-state travelers (ages five and older) arriving in Hawaii now need to furnish evidence of a negative FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) result taken within 72 hours of travel prior to boarding. Previously, travelers could provide their results to state officials upon arrival in Hawaii.

The only test results that will be accepted will be those produced by one of these labs or clinics: American Family Care (AFC); American Samoa Department of Health; Atlas Genomics; Bartell Drugs; Capstone Clinic; Carbon Health; CityHealth Urgent Care at Oakland Airport; Clarity Lab Solutions; Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii; Color; Costco/AZOVA; CVS Health; Diagnostic Laboratory Services (Hawaii); Discovery Health MD; GoHealth Urgent Care; Hawaii Pacific Health; Kaiser Permanente; Minit Medical; National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii’s Consortium; S&G Labs Hawaii LLC; University of Washington Medicine; Urgent Care Hawaii; Vault Health; Walgreens; WestPac Labs; and XpresCheck. The list can be updated, so be sure to check with the Hawaii State Department of Health for the latest.

Without the negative test result, passengers arriving from out of state will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Travelers to Hawaii must also fill out a mandatory online health application. The digital form is required both for out-of-state arrivals and for interisland travel. Travelers must fill out the form at least 24 hours prior to departure, and once the form is complete they will receive a QR code via email. They can then scan the QR code from their mobile device or from a printed-out version at the airport upon arrival.

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In some cases a second test will be required. Individual Hawaii counties have criticized the state’s plan for a single test prior to flying and want a mandatory second test for all arriving passengers. Maui has voluntary secondary testing for visitors. Oahu officials have said they want to put in place another layer of screening but do not yet have the testing capacity.

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The Big Island, however, does require a second rapid COVID-19 antigen test upon arrival for visitors to avoid quarantine. The tests are being administered at all three Hawaii island airports: Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole, Waimea-Kohala Airport, and Hilo International Airport. Travelers will not have to pay for the test—they are being covered by the island of Hawaii County, according to a release about the Big Island testing measure. The antigen tests provide results within 15 to 20 minutes. If travelers test negative at the airport, they will not be required to quarantine. If they test positive, they will be required to immediately take a PCR test and quarantine until they receive the results, which are typically available within 36 hours.

There is also a partial interisland travel quarantine requirement in place. This 14-day quarantine applies to anyone traveling to and between the islands of Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. The interisland quarantine does not include interisland travelers arriving on Oahu, and it also does not apply to a layover in Honolulu en route to another island.

“If you have just a layover in Honolulu then the negative test result is good through to your final destination. If your break in Honolulu is more than a layover, then you are captured by the interisland quarantine,” advised the Hawaii State Department of Health on its COVID-19 travel FAQ page.

Airlines offering preflight testing to Hawaii travelers

Several U.S. airlines are offering rapid-result testing to their Hawaii passengers. United Airlines customers flying to Hawaii have access to a rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test that will be administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and its partner Dignity Health at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and results will be ready in approximately 15 minutes. The test can be scheduled online and currently costs $250. There is also be a mail-in test option, for $80, administered by the company Color. 

Hawaiian Airlines is offering drive-through nasal swab tests in a partnership with Worksite Labs at both LAX and SFO. It’s $90 if you want the results within 36 hours or $150 for day-of-travel express service. Alaska Airlines is offering rapid COVID-19 tests for passengers flying from Seattle to Hawaii for $135. Alaska customers can schedule the test through Carbon Health at the provider’s downtown Seattle clinic, and results will be available within two hours.

American Airlines is offering preflight COVID-19 testing for customers traveling from Dallas–Fort Worth (DFW) to Hawaii—an at-home test kit provided by LetsGetChecked (with results provided within 48 hours on average) that costs $129, including shipping; in-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location in the Dallas area; or a rapid-result test administered by CareNow at the DFW airport.

Hawaii’s quarantine rule

The 14-day mandatory self-quarantine still applies to those who don’t procure a negative COVID-19 test result on or after October 15 and to interisland travel between the islands of Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai until November 30. It includes those arriving on private planes as well as commercial aircrafts. The quarantine order requires visitors and residents to proceed directly to their designated quarantine location after leaving the airport, where they are to remain for 14 days (or for the duration of their stay in Hawaii, whichever is shorter). For residents, the designated quarantine location should be their home. For visitors, designated quarantine locations would be either their hotel room or vacation lodging.

During self-quarantine, residents and visitors are not to go to any public spaces, including pools, fitness centers, and restaurants.

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All visitors and residents arriving at Hawaii’s airports will be asked to complete a State Travel and Health form. On that form they must include the location where they plan to stay if they are required to quarantine. Failure to comply is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or up to one year of jail time, or both.

Beaches, hotels, and restaurants have reopened with health requirements in place

Hawaii has moved into its third stage of recovery—the first two were the stay-at-home order, followed by the safer-at-home order. The current stage is called the “act with care” stage. A number of public health and economic factors are considered for how and when the state enters each stage, and the state can also move back to one of its earlier stages if the public health situation requires that step.

During the current phase, all businesses except for larger venues and clubs have been allowed to reopen, including hotels, restaurants, bars, retail stores, shopping malls, and indoor fitness facilities—most with some kind of physical distancing and additional safety measures in place.

The only exception is Honolulu, which has a tiered reopening strategy. As of October 15, it was in Tier 1 (which has the strictest restrictions), meaning that restaurants, zoos, aquariums, museums, and movie theaters are limited to 50 percent capacity, and personal care services and gym and fitness activities can only be conducted outdoors.

Beaches on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island are all open. Haleakala National Park is open with sunrise viewings available to be reserved at Recreation.gov. Everyone in Hawaii is asked to wear a face mask, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation, and those entering any kind of business are required to wear one.

Where to stay in Hawaii

In anticipation of the October 15 launch of Hawaii’s pretravel testing program, numerous hotels announced that they will be reopening and/or are hosting promotions to entice visitors to return.

The retro-chic (and pet-friendly) Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club in Waikiki is offering 25 percent off its lowest rates so that guests can take a dip in the pool, indulge in Hawaiian cuisine at the property’s Mahina & Sun’s restaurant, and listen to nightly live music.

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Luxury hotel Espacio, also in Waikiki, is offering a $500 resort credit when you book a premium view or penthouse suite, and guests who book luxury suites will score a $200 dining credit at the on-site elevated dining venue Mugen.

The historic Mauna Kea Resort, which dates back to 1965 when Laurance S. Rockefeller first opened the property, reopened in November. The updated Big Island resort now consists of the original Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (which reopened on November 1) and the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort (which reopened on November 20). Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is offering a fifth night free, and the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort is offering a fourth free night, among other promotions.

This story originally appeared on March 24, 2020, and has been updated on November 30, 2020, to include current information. Associated Press contributed reporting.

>> Next: AFAR’s Ultimate Guide to Hawaii

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