Hawaii Islands upgrading restrictions with more testing and quarantine

Hawaii Islands Covid Restrictions

Hawaii’s experiment this fall to stimulate the summer tourism slump has been met with mixed results.

The economy needed a critical boost from the nearly 200,000 visitors who visited the sparse beaches in October and November. However, the intermingling with the mainland has resulted in a spike of COVID-19 cases to both the main island and its surrounding archipelago.

To combat the growing spread, officials are now upgrading their mid-October policies with higher standards. Avoiding a mandatory 14-day quarantine inside a hotel room now requires uploading a negative test result to the Hawaii Safe Travels website. The test cannot be taken any sooner than 72 hours before departure.

Officials hope to flip travelers’ frustrations with the rollout of an expanded list of trusted testing partners, who are promising results within three days. Those who cannot get one for free through their health insurance carriers can purchase test kits from American Airlines for $129. Passengers of Hawaiian Airlines can use mile points to pay the $119 fee. A free second test, chosen randomly amongst those arriving, is required in Hawaii County.

Those who fail to follow the rules could receive a $5,000 fine and one year in jail. In one extreme Kauai case, two people were arrested for reckless endangerment after traveling with known COVID-19 infection.

Hawaii upgrading travel restrictions

With the smaller island having only nine ICU beds and case numbers spiking from 59 to 129 since the travel program began, Kauai is not participating in the test-out program.

The requirement for new visitors to quarantine in their hotel for 14 days is driving the growing demand for resort bubbles. Quickly popping up across the islands, these posh properties allow visitors to roam more freely around the grounds and enjoy the amenities although they must still wear masks and GPS monitoring bracelets.