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Kauai’s Tourism Reopening

What Kauai Visitors Need To Know:

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor, Josh Green worked tirelessly (even with getting Covid himself) to set up the Trans-Pacific Safe Travels program. It won’t be as easy to get to the islands to Pre-Covid Tourism levels, but now it is possible to do so without having to quarantine.

For the most complete information from the State, go to hawaiicovid19.com.  There you will find a Safe Travels tab which will take you to a page that links an Overview of the Program, Pre-Travel requirements, Tips and Advice to stay healthy, and Frequently Asked Questions. The bottom line is, in order to avoid quarantine, one must take a NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test) Covid-19 test from a “Trusted Partner”, within 72 hours prior to the last Mainland leg of departure, and have a negative test result to show officials upon arrival. The cost of the test is borne by the traveler. You may upload the (pdf) test result or have a printed copy. If the test result has not come back prior to arrival, travelers must quarantine in a designated hotel (not a vacation rental) until test results come in. Every traveler must also complete the digital Safe Travels Registration Form for each leg of travel from the last mainland departure to your final island destination. An email will be sent to you with a QR code for each leg of travel to be shown upon arrival with your test result.

As of today, there are seventeen “Trusted Partners” who have agreed to give the test to Hawaii travelers, with the intent of getting the results back within the 72 hour restriction. The three big names are CVS, Walgreens, and Kaiser. The CVS test costs $139. Kaiser has agreed to test members for free. I haven’t heard what Walgreens is charging. There are also mail order companies. The most popular is VAULT for $150. A traveler must order the VAULT kit ahead of time, make a video appointment for an employee to actually watch the saliva (spit) come from the traveler into the container, mail the sample back to the company (UPS Express), and wait for the results. Some airlines have also agreed to test out of specific airports. The port of Oakland is testing all Hawaii travelers and is a trusted partner. To find a list of trusted partners and their websites, go to https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/.

If you are traveling with children under five, they do not have to be tested. Some companies will not test children under 12 years of age.

A voluntary second test will be available 72 hours after arrival, if desired. It will be a rapid test with results in 15 minutes.

Hawaii's Opening

On the same page, https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/, you will also find a list of Daily News Digest reports which has travel updates and statistical Covid details from the Department of Health.

Here are some scenarios from the Tourist Authority for your consideration:

  • If the transpac traveler has taken the COVID-19 NAAT test FROM ONE OF THE LISTED PARTNERS 72 hrs before departing their last leg of the flight to Hawaii – they will be cleared and can avoid the 14-day quarantine and enjoy the island.
  • If the transpac traveler has taken the NAAT Test, but did not get results yet, they must quarantine in a hotel/motel until they get the results and show their accommodations to get out of quarantine. Modified 11/19/20 Gov. David Ige announced 11/19/20 that trans-Pacific travelers to Hawaii, who can’t present a negative pre-arrivals test upon arrival, won’t be able to bypass the 14-day quarantine once their test arrives.
  • If the transpac traveler did not take a 72 hr. NAAT pre-test – they will have to go straight into a 14-day quarantine – NO NAAT PRE-TESTING will be done on Kaua‘i for visitors.
  • If the transpac traveler got their NAAT pre-test 72 hrs before arriving on O‘ahu (or another island) and leaves the secure area of Honolulu Airport to shop, stay overnight – they are subject now to the interisland 14-day quarantine and will need to be retested with another NAAT test in Hawaii.
  • If a traveler refuses to use the Safe Travels registration program – they will not be released from the airport.

Hawaii Reopening – Visitors Are Welcome

Governor Ige delayed Hawaii reopening with Covid-19 Pre-testing until October 15th. We do believe that this date will stand.

9/16/2020

It’s been news we’ve all been waiting for – Hawaii’s Reopening! Governor Ige held a news conference September 16th to announce that Hawaii will reopen to domestic travel on October 15th, as long as visitors can show a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of departure. So, what does this mean?

The 14-day quarantine is still in effect for domestic and international travel, and will continue to be in effect indefinitely. However, now there is another option for travelers outside the state. The model was taken from Alaska’s reopening. If a visitor agrees to take a NAAT, Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure, and is able to show a negative result, they will be allowed to enter the state after October 15th without having to quarantine.

Many have questioned how they can meet these requirements when some areas still require a doctor’s referral to get tested and test result findings can sometimes take up to a week. Josh Green, Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor, has been working diligently with CVS Pharmacy and Kaiser to create a national Testing Partner Program to help avoid these two problems. The idea is that one would go to the pharmacy to give his/her specimen and then the results would be uploaded into a data base with which Hawaii officials would have access. The cost is anticipated to be between $120 and $140, although Kaiser is considering offering the tests to their members for free. The Vault Test seems to be the most easily acquired, as it is a home test and you send the testing kit back to obtain results.

Vacation Rental Owners, including myself, are so excited that guests will now have an option to come to Kauai without having to quarantine. It has been a very difficult time for all of us as our properties have been sitting empty for months. This program is not 100% risk free, but neither is daily life on the mainland. With this option available, it is hard to imagine anyone choosing to not test, board the plane, and have to quarantine for 14 days.

It’s doubtful that we will have the same number of tourists arriving, but in a way that makes it even nicer for those who do decide to come. I must say it is rather idyllic right now – no crowds, no traffic, and most businesses are back up and running with social distancing practices in place. The waiters and service persons wear masks, tables are spaced apart, the food is delicious you must have the seafood.

There is, of course, so much uncertainty still involved, if there is an increase in cases in Kauai. Kauai’s Mayor has implemented a tiered system that comes to play if cases on the island increase.  For this reason I would strongly encourage everyone to purchase travel insurance for your future trips. It has always been a good idea, especially when traveling to an area which has hurricanes, but now it is even more important. I realize that many trip insurance policies did not cover the pandemic, but now companies are coming out with plans that do. Play Travel Protection, as an example, has a plan which covers you if you get Covid-19 during your trip and even if you should test positive 72 hours before your flight. The Cancel for Any Reason policy covers even if the guest tests positive and they’ve purchased insurance before testing, that would be a covered reason for cancellation. Furthermore, that would cover everyone going on the trip.” Yes, the insurance companies’ goal is to make money, but booking a vacation rental with confidence, knowing that if you have to cancel you will get your money back, goes a long way to reduce stress!

As you can imagine Kauai residents are a bit nervous about opening our borders to visitors because we have been living in a Kauai Pandemic Bubble for six months. Please be sensitive to this fear, and respect the safety measures in place. You will find most people wearing a mask in public. We are a small community, living on a small island which has a history of residents being devastated by disease. We must all be careful. Please bring a mask. Additional testing information.

So, do not give up on that dreamy Kauai vacation. Hawaii’s reopening has made it possible. It will not be quite as easy to get here, but once you do, you’ll certainly enjoy your stay.

HAWAII COVID-19 NEWS AUGUST 6, 2020

Surge Prompts Reinstatement of Interisland Travel Quarantine

At an afternoon Covid-19 News briefing August 6, Governor Ige announced that the mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone traveling interisland will be reinstituted effective next Tuesday, August 11. The governor said that he and all the county mayors agree that additional measures are necessary to make sure that cases do not spread, uncontrolled, across the entire state. “I know many of you will be disappointed to hear this news. Interisland travel is an important way for families and friends to stay in touch. I wish this was not necessary, but your health and safety must always come first,” Governor Ige said. He encouraged anyone traveling interisland to check airport websites for updates.

The governor also addressed concerns that everything would be shut down again. He said in order to avoid further damage to the community, including to the economy, the strategy is to eliminate large, uncontrolled gatherings that are happening both outdoors and indoors.

Governor Ige had strong words for people who have let their guard down contributing to the surge in cases, “It has been very disappointing and infuriating. I hate to see people not wearing masks and gathering in large groups with little regard for safety. I know people are frustrated and everyone wants life to return to normal, but we still need to be vigilant.

Extends Condolences to Family and Friends of Latest Victims

“Today we received the heartbreaking news that two more of our neighbors passed away due to COVID-19. I want to extend my sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. This sad news comes after a tragic week where we saw record COVID-19 cases statewide, with the City and County of Honolulu hardest hit with 173 cases reported yesterday,” Governor Ige said. He added that there is no question the virus is surging and that he and all county mayors share everyone’s concerns. He noted the increase in hospitalizations and reiterated that healthcare capacity is one of the key indicators used to make sure COVID-19 doesn’t overwhelm hospital capacity. “There are already warnings,” the governor said, “that the number of hospitalizations is starting to reach a critical point.”

This latest action by the Governor affects the ability of us welcoming visitors to our Vacation Home as we are unable to allow guests subjected to quarantine orders. Hopefully if the infection rate decreases we may be able to host guests once again.

More about Kauai’s Covid-19 resources https://mykauaivacationrental.com/covid-19-response/

Reopening Hawaii – Visitors Welcome After Testing

Last Wednesday we finally received some welcomed news. Hawaii’s Governor, during his news conference at the Honolulu Airport announced that Hawaii is going to open to domestic  and international travelers beginning August 1, 2020 with restrictions.  Due to the efforts of many people, including those of you who postponed trips to Hawaii, and our fellow residents who abided by the earlier “Stay At Home” quarantine restrictions. Hawaii now gets to begin the process of re-opening the state to visitors.

Reopening Hawaii begins Saturday August 1, Travelers to Hawaii who have a valid negative COVID-19 polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory prior to arriving at a Hawaii airport will not be subject to the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine. This test result must be confirmed prior to arrival and the traveler must present evidence of this test upon arrival. Travelers are responsible for the cost of the pre-travel testing.

We have all sacrificed to reach this point allowing the re-opening of travel and it is essential that we continue being vigilant. This process is going to allow visitors to return to Hawaii and to continue protect the health and safety of our communities. It needs to be a continued focus and priority.

Pre-Travel Testing Program for Out-of-State Travelers Beginning August 1

  • Beginning August 1, travelers arriving in Hawaii must have and bring proof of a Negative COVID-19 Test from an FDA certified laboratory to not be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Be sure to bring proof of the Negative Test Results.
  • No testing will be provided upon arrival at the Airports in Hawaii.
  • The 14-day quarantine will remain in place for those who do not get pre-tested. If quarantine is refused, travelers will be able to make arrangements to depart Hawaii immediately. Departure from the airport is not permitted.
  • Temperature checks will also continue at the airports across the state. Anyone with a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees or is experiencing other symptoms will be required to undergo secondary screening  at the airport by healthcare staff.
  • Travelers will be required to complete the State Travel and Health Declaration forms upon arrival.
  • Everyone will be required to wear face masks in Hawaii airports and businesses while staying in Hawaii.
  • It will be much better to travel into Hawaii with your pre-travel Negative COVID-19 test than face the 14-day quarantine. The quarantines are stringent. There are only few locations in Hawaii that are conducting the quarantines.  Travelers are not allowed to leave their rooms, except for seeking medical care or to go to the airport to depart the island. Food is delivers to your door for the full 14-day period, and the costs are the responsibility of the traveler. Adherence is closely monitored, and violators are prosecuted ($5,000.00 and or a year in Jail).
  • Further Details are forthcoming; The timeframe of how far in advance a test can be taken, from what age children will need to be tested, how long the pre-arrival testing requirement and 14-day quarantine process will be in effect, whether this applies to only travel from mainland U.S. or does it apply to travelers from other countries, and how this effects returning residents.

We will continue to update this information as is gets closer to August 1. Additional Information about the entrance and quarantine process from Hawaii’s Department of Transportation Website. As of July 13, 2020 Governor Ige has announced that the plan to allow domestic visitors arrival with a COVID Negative test, “The state will now delay by at least a month the planned Aug. 1 reopening of Hawaii’s tourism industry with a traveler pre-testing program to at least September 1”. http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/07/13/governor-says-he-plans-extend-day-quarantine-all-trans-pacific-travelers-through-august/. This means that all individuals arriving to Hawaii will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine.

Once the reopening of Hawaii begins our Vacation Rental in Poipu will be “Vacation Ready.” We have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols for our guests health & safety. To view more about our Poipu Vacation Home and to check on our rates or to make a reservation for your trip to Kauai.

Vacation Rentals Safer Alternative to Hotels

Vacation Rentals Gain Popularity Amid Coronavirus

A recent Article on AARP.org Points to Vacation Rental Homes as an Alternative to Hotels

As a traveler, Theresa Blanding has always considered herself a hotel person. But in the age of coronavirus, a bustling hotel lobby and crowded elevators give her pause. “I’m confident that hotels will be careful about cleaning, but I’m not sure how it’s possible to avoid contact with other guests, not to mention staff,” says the 71-year-old Boulder, Colorado, resident.

As coronavirus lockdowns slowly begin to ease, people are slowly starting to contemplate future vacation plans.

Donna Racette, a 70-year-old retiree in Niwot, Colorado, was traveling in California in early March when the coronavirus-related travel alarms started. “I noticed the hotel staff weren’t cleaning the doorknobs,” she says. “I became fastidious about having my own wipes and would go into a hotel before my husband to wipe down the doorknobs and elevator buttons.” When she starts to travel again, Racette says she’ll definitely book through a Vacation Rental Home. “I like knowing I am in control of cleaning all the rooms and surfaces in a home during my stay,” she says. “I can’t have that control in a hotel.”

A recent survey conducted by market research company OmniTrak examined travel-related perceptions of risk related to the coronavirus pandemic and found that hotels (46 percent) were seen as a greater risk than a vacation rental (39 percent). The survey of 2,500 people did not ask participants to go into detail about their travel confidence, but it’s rather easy to surmise that respondents perceived home shares as less risky because the volume of travelers to a vacation rental is likely smaller than at a hotel. A vacation rental is also less likely to have common areas frequented by guests and staying at a vacation rental you don’t have to eat out every meal.

Increased safety precautions

Our enhanced cleaning protocols for our guests is being implemented where the cleaning protocol is based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published standards, The new cleaning protocol includes using single-use cleaning products, bagless vacuums and, it also includes requirements for cleaning staff to wear masks, gloves and use certain disinfectants. It’s estimated that housekeeping is allotted just 45 minutes for hotel room cleaning. Within that time frame, they have a long list of responsibilities. This includes replacing toiletries, sheets, and comforters and removing the trash. Sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces and objects oftentimes is not a priority, putting guests and staff at risk for infection. In hotels, many people share the same surfaces, objects, and areas each day, which allows germs to spread easily. A recent study revealed that hotel elevator buttons have nearly 40 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and a whopping 81% of surfaces in more than 100 hotel rooms tested positive for fecal bacteria during an inspection. Common infections guests acquire in unclean hotels and rooms include MRSA, Staph, influenza, rhinovirus (the common cold) and norovirus. As a precaution, along with our enhanced cleaning procedures, we will also observe at least a 24-hour waiting period before booking new guest to occupy our property. We have set up our system to keep in touch with our guests to 2 weeks after their departed to inquire about their current health so we may follow up on illnesses to help with contact tracing. (Hotel Cleaning Challenges & Statistics)

A More selective host

Travelers opting to stay with us can expect us to be more particular and inquisitive about our guests. We will be asking: “In the last two weeks, have you or anyone you live with traveled to any areas impacted by COVID-19?” and “Do you currently have any travel restrictions in your area due to COVID-19?” We’d prefer longer stays vs a shorter one to lessen the foot traffic and the extra time involved in the cleaning process for the next guest.

Guest-friendly rules

 Compared to other resort properties, we as an owner of the property have the ability to have more guest-friendly rules when it comes to cancellations or rescheduling guest to future dates. Due to some of the Extenuating circumstances of the Pandemic we have given from 50% to 100% refunds to our guests, rescheduled guests stays up to 18 months into the future in the past, and anticipate if necessary due to a rise in Covid Cases or Government places restrictions on travel will continue these policies.

Still, no guarantees

Despite the extra cleaning measures, host-guest education and flexibility, companies like Airbnb, HomeAway and Vrbo aren’t liable in the same way hotels and we are, stresses David Sherwyn, a hospitality professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Ultimately, the homeowners, not the booking platform, decide how thoroughly they clean their home and whether to issue a refund, Sherwyn says. “Home rental companies can say, “We tell our people to follow these procedures,” but they cannot guarantee it,” he notes. “You are counting on the homeowner.” In this case My Kauai Vacation Rental will be standing by our commitment to cleanliness and enhanced cleaning protocols to help ensure our guests safety.

See the entire article on AARP.org https://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips/lodging/info-2020/vacation-rentals-amid-coronavirus.html