Hawaii will reopen to tourists in 2020, we think. They keep changing their minds…
Destinations around the world are trying to find the difficult balance between ensuring safety and avoiding second waves of covid-19 infection, and protecting the vital commerce, jobs and businesses that come along with visitors. In some countries where tourism is the main employer, the balance is even more difficult to find. Hawaii is still trying to find that balance.
Plans have come, gone, and changed again quite a few times, but the latest iteration points to a welcome return for visitors from September 1st, for those willing to bring along a recent negative covid-19 test.
Hawaii has made it fairly clearly that it’s not currently looking for visitors, via the 14 day mandatory quarantine policy, with strict enforcement for all, even apparently including Mark Zuckerberg. That’s set to change on September 1st, 2020, when quarantine plans are to be dropped, for travelers willing to bring a negative covid-19 test.
The island paradise originally proposed an August 1st reopening to travelers bearing a recent negative covid-19 test certificate, but then quickly fanned the flames of those announcements, with announcements that the date would be postponed by a month. Authorities are said to be harnessing plans to ensure safe arrival facilities and any testing facilities needed.
Already, doubts exist among politicians in Hawaii that September 1st will be enough time to get things ready, so perhaps give a little wiggle room to any future trips. Entry will be subject to all travel restrictions laid out by the United States, which for now, excludes most Europeans.
What Sort Of Testing Will Be Required To Visit Hawaii?
Governor Ige, despite the setbacks has been very clear on what visitors will need to avoid quarantine, and a recent negative covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival is a key piece of that. The order applies to everyone of every age, including infants, which may present its own challenges.
The test must be of the NAAT variety, and must be conducted in a CLIA approved laboratory. Failure to produce a negative result, or scanning a temperature of over 100.4 Farenheit will more than likely land you in the quarantine, until a negative result can be produced.
Inter island travel is already once again possible, allowing people to move from Kauai to Honolulu and beyond. Restaurants, hotels, bars, beaches, shops and other facilities are open, but not all. A large number of attractions reliant on tourism have chosen not to reopen until a flow of visitors returns.
Do you need to wear a mask in Hawaii right now? Short answer: yes. Most businesses require visitors to don a face covering and maintains social distancing and hygiene rules. The rules apply to all indoor spaces, and also any outdoor spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
As to the restaurants themselves, don’t expect Hawaii to offer business as usual, at least not yet. Only circa 30% of all restaurants have chosen to reopen, and some but not all, are only offering take out. This leaves a catch-22 for the government, which must balance businesses failing daily with needs to stop second or third waves of covid-19 infections. So far, polls in Hawaii suggests locals aren’t ready to welcome visitors back yet, at any cost.
Bars in certain parts of Hawaii are also now being told to stop serving liquor at midnight, in response to growing concern over lack of social distancing for gatherings after this time. Basically, people get drunk and forget they’re not supposed to be too close to someone, so measures are being taken. If your plan was to come to the islands to party until well after midnight, you may want to put those plans on hold.
Best Ways To Plan Hawaii Trips Right Now
Airlines and hotels are offering more flexibility than usual, even on the cheapest deals. If you’re aiming to visit the Hawaiian Islands in 2020, it may require some flexibility, given the nature of the changing reopening dates. Be sure to book travel with a hotel or airline which offers fee free changes, and or cancellation for a full refund.
If you play the points game, that’s absolutely the best way to book Hawaii right now. Booking with points allows potential visitors to get something locked down, without the stress of laying down cash. If you need to cancel, most points programs allow you to get all your points back, so long as you’re cancelling at least a week in advance. Happy travels…