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.