Hawaii has been closed off to domestic travel for months, and currently imposes a 14-day quarantine for all visitors. Governor David Ige had previously announced the state’s intention to reopen to tourism by August 1. However, that date was later pushed back to September 1, and now it’s been delayed until at least October.
The plan for the August reopening date was for out-of-state visitors to avoid the 14-day quarantine if they tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their arrival in Hawaii. But with outbreaks on the mainland United States, an increase of cases on Hawaii, and a poor supply of tests to the archipelago, Hawaii is planning to wait before welcoming back tourists.
In a statement, Ige said, “We will continue to monitor the conditions here in Hawaii as well as key markets on the mainland to determine the appropriate start date for the pre-travel [COVID-19] testing program.”
And it’s not just out-of-state visitors who are affected by the spike in cases and the resulting travel restrictions. As of August 19, the 14-day self-quarantine has been reinstated to those arriving to Kauai, the Big Island, or Maui County (Maui, Molokai, and Lanai), and those traveling between these islands.
According to Ige, the new reopening date will be announced in advance to give the hospitality industry ample time to staff their properties and prepare for the tourism influx.
The original 14-day quarantine rule was introduced in March and was strictly implemented with expensive fines and even jail time for offenders.
A version of this article was previously published on June 25, 2020, and was updated on August 20, 2020, with more information.