Unlocking the World

Travel to Hawaii during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN staffUpdated 3rd December 2021
Hawaii is like nowhere else in the United States
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on December 3.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Hawaii, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Hawaii has aligned its entry policy for international travelers with federal policy for air travelers that went effect on November 8, requiring international arrivals to be fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test result.
From now until December 5, fully vaccinated travelers still have three days to take the test before departure.
Starting Monday, December 6, all inbound international travelers will be required to test within one day of departure for the United States, regardless of vaccination status. This does not affect domestic travel.
It's part of a general tightening of US travel rules because of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
In addition to the new requirements for international arrivals, Hawaii has ended its pre-travel testing and quarantine requirement for domestic travelers if they've been fully vaccinated for Covid-19 in the United States.
US visitors who aren't fully vaccinated still must provide a negative Covid-19 test result from one of the state's Trusted Travel Partners taken within three days of their flight's departure for Hawaii to enter the state and bypass a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Find out more at the Safe Travels Program.

What's on offer

Spectacular surfing, sandy beaches, traditional Pacific culture and rugged volcanoes await Hawaii visitors. Hawaii's geographical position and proud history make it unlike anywhere else in the United States.

Who can go

Fully vaccinated travelers from all but eight nations are now allowed entry into the United States, including Hawaii.
At the end of November, the United States began restricting travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe because of the emerging Omicron variant.
Citizens of those nations or foreign travelers who have been to any of them in the past 14 days may not enter the United States, but US citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been to those nations may still enter.
As of November 8, unvaccinated travelers from abroad are no longer allowed, with very limited exceptions. Among those exceptions are unvaccinated children who are 17 and younger.
Americans are still allowed to travel to Hawaii, regardless of vaccination status.

What are the restrictions?

As mentioned above, being fully vaccinated is the key requirement for international travelers 18 and older, as well as a test taken before departing for Hawaii for all travelers 2 and older. Starting on December 6, those tests must be taken within one day of departing for the US.
Participation in the state's Safe Travels Hawaii program remains a requirement for domestic travelers.
All restrictions on intercounty travel have been lifted, meaning no pre-travel testing or quarantining is needed for travel between the Hawaiian islands.

What's the Covid situation?

With roughly 88,000 cases and 1,000 deaths reported as of December 3, Hawaii has seen relatively low Covid numbers compared with other US states. It maintained some of the strictest travel measures of any state.
Hawaii began easing restrictions earlier this year, but the spread of the Delta variant over the summer spurred the state to once again tighten up on gathering sizes. Those have been loosened again.

What can visitors expect?

On December 1, statewide limits on social gatherings, restaurants, bars, gyms and other social establishments were lifted. Going forward, counties may impose their own limits. You can find out more details here.
The statewide indoor mask mandate remains in effect.
On the island of Oahu, Safe Access O'ahu eased some of its restrictions on December 1. They include:
-- No restrictions on informal, noncommercial social gatherings.
-- Businesses can operate at 100% capacity, but masks must be worn indoors and confirmation of vaccination or negative test results are required for all indoor fitness facilities and for all indoor and outdoor businesses where food or beverage is served.
Maui County has issued new rules as well that started December 1 -- click here for the full set of rules (PDF). Highlights include:
-- Indoor social gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted.
-- No limit on outdoor social gatherings.
-- Indoor spaces such as restaurants, bars, gyms and indoor sporting events may operate at 100% capacity, but patrons 12 and older must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result.
Hawaii also has a statewide Malama Hawaii initiative that encourages visitors to give back to the destination.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

Find out about the woman who gave birth to a baby while flying to Hawaii -- she didn't even know she was pregnant!
What's it like traveling to Hawaii during the pandemic? Read about a recent experience here.
For vacation tips, have a look here. If you're a closet beach hater, here are some ideas of what you can do. Or have a look at the cats of Lana'i, where 600 of them are living their best life.