Hawaii Opening On September 1, 2020 In Doubt Again, Likely To Be Postponed As Per Governor

Hawaii’s Governor warned this week that the expected a full opening of the state to tourists from the continental U.S. without Quarantine requirement might be pushed back again given recent spikes in Covid-19 cases.

Hawaii has originally scheduled their quarantine requirement to stop effective August 1, 2020 provided the traveler can provide a valid negative test taken within 72 hr prior to arrival but this plan had been scrapped by mid July and a prospective opening set for September 1, 2020.

Now Hawaii’s Governor David Ige said he is looking at delaying the start of a pre-arrivals testing program again, but stopped short of announcing a new date.

The requirement to undergo a quarantine essentially rules out any tourism to the Hawaii islands as rarely anyone has the means to spend two weeks in isolation plus then their regular holiday period. You’d look at a minimum of 4-6 weeks vacation to make it worth the effort.

According to the news report by the Honolulu Star Advisor this weekend it doesn’t look good that Hawaii will be opening again on September 1st.

Gov. David Ige today said he is looking at delaying the start of a pre-arrivals testing program again, but stopped short of announcing a new date. …

His latest waffling comes as new COVID-19 cases in Hawaii hit a single-day record of 355, bringing the count of active infections in Hawaii to 2,556. Altogether, since the pandemic started there have been 4,312 cases. Two more deaths today brought the total death count since the pandemic to 40.

While the state’s total case count relative to other states remains low,today marked the eleventh day in a row that state Department of Health officials reported triple-digit rises, with most of the new cases on Oahu.

“With the case count increasing the way it has, it would be very difficult to implement and start the pre-travel testing program on Sept. 1,” Ige said during a press briefing this afternoon. “But we have not made that decision. We do want to see another few days of data to see what the impact of the increased restrictions have been on Oahu.”

It has been about a week since the state reinstated various restrictions aimed at improving social distancing. On Tuesday,Ige also restarted a partial mandatory 14-day interisland self-quarantine for those arriving on the counties of Kauai, Hawaii island, Maui and Kalawao.
“We hope that these measures will help control the virus. But if things do not get better, we will have no choice but to look at more restrictions. This could include going back to the stay-at-home orders,” Ige said. “It also means that we may have to delay trans-Pacific travel. I know that going backwards will cause further harm to our economy, but we may have no choice. Before we can fix our economy, we need to fix our health.”

The first time I wrote about Hawaii and several other U.S. states preparing for the summer travel season and modifying their isolation requirements for arriving visitors was in early/mid June. Since then the goal post has shifted constantly.

With the quarantine requirement it pretty much means that there will be zero tourism in Hawaii. Nobody will go to a holiday destination to first spend two weeks in indoor isolation, what would be the point of that?

So far nothing has been decided yet but I wouldn’t expect September 1 to be the opening date for Hawaii. Especially this year nobody wants to make any moves that are politically risky.

Conclusion

With states and cities all over the country rolling back and then reinstating some of their lockdown measures (including Las Vegas / Nevada) travel might once again become a game of chance.

If you have booked flights to Hawaii I’d check if the airline is offering flexible options to either cancel the trip free of charge or exchange it against a future travel credit. You can of course always gamble and see if the flight will ultimately be cancelled by the airline in which case the carrier has to offer a full refund.

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