Hawaii Officially Postpones Opening For Tourism Without Quarantine To October 1, 2020 At The Earliest

Hawaii has officially postponed the opening of the state to tourists from the continental U.S. without Quarantine requirement until October 1, 2020 at the earliest given recent spikes in Covid-19 cases.

Hawaii has originally scheduled their quarantine requirement to end effective September 1, 2020 provided the traveler can provide a valid negative test taken within 72 hr prior to arrival but this plan has now been scrapped for a second time in a row.

Earlier this week Hawaii’s Governor David Ige already warned he is looking at delaying the start of a pre-arrival testing program again, but stopped short of announcing a new date.

The requirement to undergo a quarantine essentially rules out any tourism to the Hawaiian 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 an article published in the Washington Post last night Hawaii has now made the decision to stick to their quarantine procedures until at least October:

Travelers that gambled on planning a trip to Hawaii for later this year may need to rethink their timing. The state has officially delayed its reopening to mainland travelers until at least Oct. 1.

The move replaces a program that was set to allow entry with a negative test on Sept. 1 and comes after a recent surge in coronavirus cases that prompted the state to impose quarantine restrictions on inter-island flights between Kauai, Hawaii Island and Maui.

All residents and non-tourist visitors will continue to be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine, according to guidelines. …

This is the second time Hawaii has delayed its reopening to out-of-state travelers in 2020, with reopening plans announced in June originally being pushed back to September.

“We want to welcome back our visitors once our state is ready to do so in a safe manner that will hopefully avoid the need to backtrack in the future,” said Chris Tatum, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). “Once we receive details on the process and requirements from the Department of Transportation and the DOH, we will share that information with the visitor industry.”

It looked increasingly unlikely that Hawaii would open as scheduled. The first time we 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?

Here are the original guidelines for visitors to Hawaii:

Download (PDF, 153KB)

These instructions will remain in place until further notice. I wouldn’t bet too much on the October 1 opening date as the salami slicing tactic of pushing out opening dates month by month has not worked out much for any other state/country so far. Nobody wants to make any moves that are politically risky, especially this year as there are elections coming up in the U.S..

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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