Update: Hawaii will go ahead with quarantine free travel, and Kauai has been denied its request to ask for a second test and use the resort bubble program to quarantine travelers.

You wake up to a stunning sunrise, you smell the sea breeze and take in the lush greens and volcanic soils of Kauai, Hawaii all around you. Ahh, paradise. Then, before that first cup of lovely Kona coffee, you slap your electronic monitoring bracelet on, because if you leave your room without it, the authorities may come pin you down. Sound like vacation, or an episode of the Sopranos?

Hawaii just approved a new measure to bring *some* tourism back to the islands, while also promising quarantine free travel from October 15th onward on all islands, provided you bring a recent negative covid-19 test result. Of course, the same promise has been made, and reneged on multiple occasions.

In the only new tourism move taking effect immediately, Kauai became the first island to push for a “resort bubble”, the new program from Hawaiian Governor David Ige and Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami. Under the bubble plan, guests won’t be confined solely to their hotel room, and will be allowed to move about their resort while making use of all facilities. As of October 6th, resort bubble plans have now been droppd.

In theory, the proclamation means you could leave today, and enjoy the pool and all other facilities in your Kauai resort, unlike the rest of the islands, where intra-island and arrival quarantine means strictly remaining in your room with four walls, at least until October 15th.

You just can’t go anywhere else, and when you do leave your hotel room, every move will be electronically tracked. With all there is to see on Kauai, it’s a bummer.

On Kauai, many resorts are of a style where guests rarely leave the grounds anyway, with lush golf, tennis, beach and dining facilities all on hand. The county wanted to add a second layer of covid-19 testing and mandatory quarantine to reduce case counts, but Governor Ige has overruled the plans, stating they add too much complexity.

For resorts, the ‘travel bubble’ move created opportunity, but also headache. If Kauai opts out of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing in lieu of quarantine, the resort bubble may be the way the county pushes forward.

Any resort wishing to participate in the quarantine bubble must create appropriate geofencing and security at their own expense, which undoubtedly brings extra cost and staffing needs. It also creates an awkward rub between guests and the resort, where the resort is lawfully bound to snitch on guests.

If the monitoring unit is tampered with or the visitor leaves the resort property, hotel security will notify the Kaua‘i Police Department for enforcement. Any person violating any rule of the governor or mayor, if convicted, could face a fine ofup to $5,000 or serve up to a year in jail, or both.

Kauai Resort Bubble Proclamation

If Kauai is your one and only, this Emergency Rule 16 establishing a “Resort Bubble” offers a chance to enjoy world class views, resort facilities and fresh cooking with a little bit of joy, but something about being electronically monitored, and unable to leave even if you want to just sounds a bit “much” for most travelers.

As of now, the ‘resort bubble’ plans are off, and you can travel to Kauai and all of Hawaii quarantine free from October 15th with a pre-flight covid-19 test, but plans are subject to change.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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46 Comments

  1. I’ve been going to Hawaii every year for the last 20 years. I spend $10’s of thousands each year that goes to their economy and airlines.

    This is absolute lunacy. The economy of Hawaii is roughly 85% tourism.

    The local government is effectively putting the locals in poverty and keeping them there.

  2. As frustrating as all of the true spirit of Hawaii is being protected for a reason. It will all gradually get back to normal. We should all respect the people of Hawaii and give them there space. Alpha!

  3. Test people for covid upon arrival. There are 15 min tests available. If positive, then slap an ankle bracelet on them for quarantine. If negative, let them enjoy their stay. How hard is that? Use all the money that hotels were gonna have to pay for electronic fencing and set up covid testing tents. I would wait 15-30 mins for my results before enjoying Hawaii. Or set up in airports that are flying to Hawaii. Either way

  4. If you don’t want to wear a mask and feel a tracing bracelet for COVID violates your civil liberties, then STAY AWAY. We don’t want your money or your righteous attitude.

    1. Civil rights apply to US citizens regardless of their travel within the 50 states. If you’re too scared to leave your home, fine, but I’m going to Hawaii and I’ll be making full use of the islands regardless of restrictions. Peaceful civil disobedience to authoritarian policies like this are the lifeblood of our liberty.

      1. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case which held that installing a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device on a vehicle and using the device to monitor the vehicle’s movements constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

      2. AOLE JASON
        We don’t need your kind here!
        Stay away and respect the Locals and our Aina!
        WEe shut down for two years after the Hurricane in 1992.
        We are good without people like you with your attitude.

    2. IMO, not wanting to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet is a not “righteous attitude.” People are getting very testy at each other these days. So many divides, beyond just politics.

      Obviously, if you don’t like the rules, don’t go. Problem solved. It’s not something I would do, but there may be plenty of people that have the $$ and are so miserable in their present location that they’ll do it. One way to find out!

    3. I live here in Hawaii and a lot of people here have that attitude. It’s really disgusting. They should rename this state the “A-no!-ha” state – hey say no to anything forward-thinking. Talk about a righteous attitude – of all the places I’ve been, nowhere have I seen more arrogance, ignorance and sanctimony than Hawaii.

      1. For those of you who have a bad attitude of Kauai then maybe you do not belong here. We are good people (locals). Those that come here a visit or have a vacation rental always want to change the way we have always lived. This is 1 of the reasons most of you could never live here full time. If you think Kauai Locals are unable to live off the land your mistaken. The ignorance and arrogant are those who do not know the ways of the Island and I can guess most of you would not be wanted here in the first place. WE LIVE ALOHA , we care and help EACH OTHER with much respect. Those who wish to visit need. To change your behavior you might learn something. Money is not everything yet most of you live for it and demand to be served. Treat people how you want to be treated. Come here with an attitude of being better then the Locals will be your biggest mistake. Its the greed and self serving behavior that is the problem. Humble yourselves and be grateful, kind and show respect. ME ME ME attitude will get you no where here. Just a word of advise. After reading the comments I wonder how many are locals when most sound like spoiled adults not from here who think MONEY is all that matters. Kauai people matter!

        1. Right on comment. I agree 100% I’m a 53 year resident of Hawaii islands I have seen many changes here. This Virus thing has everyone on edge. Chill people!!
          Kaua’i’s mayor has things figured out, just follow his lead.

        2. I am currently staying here for the first time. My best friend has lived here for over 2 years and I gotta say respect these beautiful people and THEIR island. Money doesn’t mean anything anyway. Life is LIVED here. All natural. They don’t want you coming here and disrespecting their culture and think that they are happy to serve you. Like, if you can’t understand what respect for these people then stay home. I wouldn’t have the balls to disrespect anything or anyone on this magical island. I have alot to learn culturally, but they all have my deepest respect.

    4. I agree, I used to live there, and unfortunately I am mainland bound while my daughter who still lives there is about to give birth. Im sad i can’t b there, but i understand. Keep Hawaii safe for kamaaina and visitors alike! Can’t wait to move back!

    5. Why the hell would anybody want to visit a Hawaii to feel like a prisoner?? It’s not about self righteousness, it’s about enjoying a vacation I’m spending thousands of dollars to enjoy. We wanted to go to Hawaii this fall but with these ridiculous restrictions, we’re taking our money to Tahiti and Bora Bora instead. They’re open, with reasonable restrictions. Hawaii is just messed up and their citizens whose jobs rely upon tourism are the ones suffering.

  5. Hey Brian.
    We don’t want your righteous covid attitude. Nice comment. NOT! We’ll travel Hawaiian Earth when all the paranoid attitude subsides and we can breathe freely, like a normal earthly human.

  6. Better to be safe and protect our aina that destroy it by spreading the virus bands are well worth it go for it. On our Island we are Ohana we come together as on and we work together to keep it safe and so does our Mayor

  7. Any tourists planning a visit after October 15th must keep in mind that Hawaii – especially Honolulu will not look like your previous visits. It’ll take months for hotels, restaurants, tourist activities and wedding events to return to “normal”. Your favorite bar or restaurant may not even be in business any longer. Do your google searches
    prior to your visit and stay up today with our local news. Checkout apps for local network stations, e.g. KHON for current updates.
    BRING YOUR MASK and we’ll provide the
    ALOHA

  8. HI is a a state in the United States. Don’t make up laws and our constitution on the fly. I too have spent tens of thousands of dollars supporting the economy of Hawaii. The comments of some of the residents of this STATE are disrespectful to those that provide the lifeblood to this state. Will miss you but can do without the “local attitude ” BS. See ya!

  9. Can you rent a condo and order in? No problem doing 14 days in a nice space with good broadband and ocean view lanai. I might even get some writing done. After the ‘sequestration’ ( funny how that translates to ‘kidnap’ in Spanish) , OK… “quarantine” …..we have total freedom and beach privelage’?

    1. I don’t know about the other islands, but your healthy quarantine absolutely CANNOT be served in a vacation rental condo or house on Kauai. Has to be in a hotel room OR in your own residence.

      We have a second home on Kauai that is also a legal, permitted vacation rental, and we are prohibited from advertising it or renting it until the imposed healthy quarantine is lifted.

      You can enter into a long term rental agreement (supposed to be at least 6 months) or even buy a place before arriving (surprising amount of people have been buying without ever seeing in person), and then carry out your sentence in your own place.

      We are going to bite the bullet and go over in early November. We have zero expectation that the healthy quarantine will be lifted by then, so we are planning ahead by shipping food and other supplies. We also have nice neighbors who going to do a Costco/Walmart/Home Depo run for us, and can also do some mid-quarantine shopping for perishables.

      We are graciously allowed to go outside on our own property, so I will be getting a lot of over due yard work done, and creating a gigantic pile of green waste. We are not allowed to step out on the (empty) beach, or get any exercise like jogging around the block, but it is what it is. I am told there is something like 2000 people currently under house arrest, so I don’t take it personally whatever my own views are. Apparently you are supposed to call KPD every day and confirm you are abiding. Maybe they will show up here and there. IDK.

  10. Fed up with this whole COVID 19 crap! Fed up with all the forced quarantines on everybody traveling to any of the 50 states, all the travel bans to other countries, the criminalization of effecting another with an illness, the number of deaths and infections shoved in our faces on a daily basis no matter where we go to, the stay at home and COVID commercials in all of our faces every day, all the shutdowns and cancellations that have been going on worldwide for about 8 months, all those in power worldwide that are holding everyone hostage worldwide to this virus putting the whole world under house arrest depriving billions of their freedoms under the guise of public safety while threatening billions with criminal penalties for violating a version of international house arrest, the whole politicalization and obsession with this virus and so on! It is well known by now that those with already existing health conditions and weakened immune systems are most at risk for severe illness from COVID 19. I read somewhere recently on a news site that this risk factor has been known since February of this year. With all said here, there is absolutely no reason why all those government and world leaders could of let life continue on as usual isolating and protecting these people mentioned above most at risk from severe illness and leave the rest of us alone! Tired of all this madness and hysteria that is needlessly destroying the livelihoods of billions!

  11. Hawaii will always welcome and miss those who come visit with respect and leave with gratitude.
    It’s those visitors who feel entitled either due to their money or citizenship that are not needed. Aloha to all.

  12. Just go to Tahiti instead. I just got back and it felt more welcoming and friendly than Hawaii has ever been to me and my family. Frankly, its more expensive all the way around but worth every penny. I don’t know if I want to go back to Hawaii now.

    1. If you know, you know. It’s all about respect. If you came here thinking you are entitled to anything because you are spending your hard working money on our island then you’re wrong. We would prefer you not come here, and we would rather do without then deal with people like you. Locals will embrace you if you are willing to understand or take the time to learn about our culture. Being born and raised on the island, I’ve seen many changes and it is definitely not like it was 50 years ago. Some locals have put up a barrier because I have seen tourists come here and disrespect the locals and our A’ina with no conscience about what they are doing. Yet when it comes down to having rules, you abuse your rights because you are spoiled. We hold our homeland as sacred grounds that our ancestors once walked on and we are living here respecting the rules our awesome Mayor Kawakami has put in place for our island. We are at “0” Covid- free and are trying to keep it that way, so if you can’t understand that then please stay home. Yes, I agree there are some that are ignorant however the root of that problem also comes with a combination of what the white man has done to our people and the ones that continue to have that attitude that you are better then we are, all because you have money. As long as you are spending your money here, you feel that you can do whatever you want and we need to serve you like we are some kind of slave. Our family has numerous of haole friends that come here every here and we treat them like they are our ohana, because they get it!
      So if Tahiti or anywhere else is it for you and your family, by all means good for you. We’ll see how long it takes them to realize where your heart is and how fast they will get tired of your selfish ways. To me, if you have that attitude already, then it will be the same no matter where you go. For our people, it’s just one less haole we need to deal with. There is no doubt the economy has suffered but we are learning self sustainability and we are are going back to how things used to be. Nice and quiet. So as we say in Hawaii….ALOOOOOHA!

  13. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case which held that installing a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device on a vehicle and using the device to monitor the vehicle’s movements constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment

  14. “Basically, your trip to the pool or buffet line is just fine, so long as you wear an ankle bracelet like a criminal, and wear a mask to complete the look whenever you leave the room”

    Well, to be fair, you have to be criminally stupid to sit in a pressurized tube for 6-12 hours just to stay at a resort.

  15. I am so disheartened by most of these comments. I have always been respectful of the people, land, and culture when I have visited Hawaii. Due to the pandemic my husband and I have had to reschedule and ultimately cancel a trip to Hawaii for our 50th wedding anniversary this year. We have felt really bad because we didn’t want to hurt the economy and people we have grown to appreciate. We have understood what you are going through and the need to protect your health. We have the same issues here on the mainland. I now have a different feeling I dont feel welcome or respected and that is very sad. We visited you for your hospitality and kindness as well as the beauty of the islands. What a shame that we dont feel that way any more.

  16. Money is not more important than our fellow humans. You no more special than me and I no more special than you.
    Are you a prisoner because you wear your seatbelt? Guessing you don’t. Mask, speed limit, laws against violence, paying taxes in your country, not being able to drive without lisence, quarantine rules, etc… Aimed at caring for your fellow human, and caring for you!! Why you feel controlled? All comes from your insecurity. Try respect others and not make it about you and your control issues! Crazy!!!

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