Governor Ige has delayed Hawaii reopening with testing until October 15th. We do believe that this date will stand.
It was the news we had all been waiting for – Hawaii’s Reopening! Governor Ige held a news conference yesterday 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 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 details have not been released yet however I would expect much more information to be forthcoming in the next few weeks. The cost is anticipated to be between $120 and $140, although Kaiser is considering offering the tests to their members for free.
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, which makes it very hard to plan a vacation. 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.