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It’s getting harder to travel to Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands, but that’s good news for the island’s residents. Beginning December 2, to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, all transpacific and intercounty travelers arriving in Kauai must quarantine for 14 days.

Before today, travelers heading to Hawaii were required to quarantine for 14 days unless they had negative COVID-19 test results. Under a COVID-19 emergency proclamation signed by Governor David Ige, travelers heading to Hawaii must upload their negative test results to the Safe Travels system prior to departure. Alternatively, travelers may bring a hard copy of their negative test results with them when boarding their flight.

While those requirements are still in place for the other Hawaiian islands, due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases on the mainland, an increase in cases on Kauai, and the island’s limited number of ICU beds, Mayor Derek Kawakami requested a temporary moratorium on the island’s participation in the state’s pre-travel testing program.

Kauai’s COVID-19 cases had already jumped to 45 in November, up from six in October, when there was zero community spread, Kawakami told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Travel-related cases on Kauai represented the vast majority of the island’s new infections in November.

“We hadn’t seen community transmission since July and we are starting to see it now,” Kawakami said.

As was expected, Governor Ige approved the request. The move stops all non-essential travel to Kauai. The pre-travel testing program remains in place for all other islands.

“The unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases on the mainland and the rise in community spread on Kauai are of significant concern for the Garden Isle,” Governor Ige said at a press conference. “We must protect Kauai residents and visitors and ensure that Kauai’s hospitals do not become overwhelmed. Kauai county currently has the fewest number of ICU beds in the state, and private providers are seeking ways to increase capacity. This moratorium aims to stabilize the situation on Kauai.”

At the same press conference, Mayor Kawakami said the temporary pause in travel will allow the island to remain in Tier 4 as long as possible.

“That will keep youth sports playing and businesses open as we conduct surge testing and contact tracing,” Kawakami said. “I will gladly repeal the moratorium once we have the virus under control again.”

Kauai’s modified quarantine program will remain in place for critical infrastructure workers, essential medical travel, and other special circumstances. The paperwork to request a modified quarantine can be found here, by clicking the “modified quarantine request” button.

While the new travel restriction makes it more cumbersome to travel to Kauai, we understand the reasoning. Let’s hope it keeps everyone safe. See all our latest news coverage, plus all our Hawaii content here.

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