It just got a little easier to visit Kauai, Hawaii. Kauai had previously opted out of Hawaii’s COVID-19 pre-testing program. Beginning December 2, to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19, all trans-Pacific and inter-county travelers arriving in Kauai were required to quarantine for 14 days.
That month-long shutdown ended January 5 because Governor David Ige approved a request from Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami for the island to rejoin the state’s Safe Travels program. The program allows inter-island travelers who test negative for COVID-19 to bypass the island’s mandatory quarantine. That period had been 14 days but was amended to 10 days in mid-December.
There are options for travelers. A Honolulu Star-Advertiser article explains that trans-Pacific travelers can avoid quarantine on Kauai if they first go to another Hawaiian island using the Hawaii Safe Travels pre-arrival testing program and then spend at least 72 hours on that island before traveling to Kauai.
A second option to avoid the 10-day quarantine on Kauai is for those who had a negative COVID-19 test before arriving on Kauai to stay in an approved Enhanced Movement Quarantine (EMQ) “resort bubble” property. They must then take a post-travel COVID-19 test 3 days after arrival. Once they test negative, they will be released.
“This proposal will allow Kauai to move forward with limited tourism in ‘resort bubbles’ while honoring the county’s request to opt-out of the Safe Travels pre-travel testing program,” Governor Ige said in the statement.
Mayor Kawakami explained that travelers who participate in this program will be able to walk the resort’s property -- and even visit the pool for the first three days of their vacations -- but they aren’t allowed to leave the resort.
“Once the post-travel test shows they are COVID-free, visitors can enjoy all that Kauai has to offer,” Kawakami explained.
Participants will be required to wear tracking bracelets to monitor their location and ensure they stay on resort grounds, Richard Albrecht, president of bubble resort property The Club at Kukuiula, explained in an Associated Press article.
Participation in the post-travel EMQ program is voluntary and open to all travelers, including visitors and residents.
To qualify, travelers must:
- Take a pre-travel test within 72 hours before traveling to Kauai and receive a negative test result.
- Stay at an approved EMQ “resort bubble” property.
- Take a post-travel test more than 72 hours after arriving on Kauai, and receive a negative result.
Visitors may also choose to stay in non-EMQ hotels and motels. In that case, they must fulfill the full 10-day traveler quarantine without a post-travel testing opportunity -- and they may not leave their rooms.
Residents can also fulfill their 10-day travel quarantine in their homes, as long as they do not leave their property.
For the most up-to-date travel news, you can find the latest here.