Unlocking the World

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

CNN staffUpdated 18th October 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 October 18.
(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 latest news

Hawaii has urged tourists to stay away from the state as Covid numbers surged to new levels in late summer, it stopped short of restricting people from visiting altogether.
On October 1, Gov. David Ige extended Hawaii's Emergency Proclamation that came in late August in response to the Delta variant. It keeps in place the Safe Travels program and statewide mask mandates
Among the provisions: Customers in restaurants, bars and social establishments must stay seated with parties keeping at least 6 feet apart. Maximum group sizes are 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. Masks must be worn at all times except when actively eating or drinking. No mingling is allowed.
For all high-risk activities, indoor capacity is set at 50%. This includes bars, restaurants, gyms and social establishments.

The basics

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.
Travelers must upload their CDC-issued vaccination card to the state's Safe Travels Program website and have the card with them upon arrival as well.
Visitors who aren't fully vaccinated still must provide a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken 72 hours or less before the final leg of their trip to enter and bypass a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
All air passengers entering the United States must present a negative test result.

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

Travelers from other US states (who are unvaccinated), Canada, Japan, Philippines, South Korea's Incheon International Airport, Tahiti and Taiwan are allowed to bypass Hawaii's mandatory 10-day quarantine on most islands by following strict pre-travel testing rules (see below).
Through November 7, Hawaii will be still following CDC guidelines, meaning those who have been in Brazil, China, the European Schengen Area, Iran, India, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom in the past 14 days will be denied entry.
Travelers from all other countries must undergo a 10-day quarantine. Check the Safe Travels Hawai'i site for details.
All tourists must also complete a Safe Travels Hawaii form, and many will need to undergo a health screening on arrival.
Starting November 8, however, fully vaccinated travelers from any nation will be allowed entry into the United States, including Hawaii.

What are the restrictions?

Currently, travelers must either undergo a 10-day quarantine or -- if traveling from a handful of countries (listed above) -- avoid quarantine by presenting a negative test from a "trusted partner," a list of which can be found on the Hawaii Covid-19 website. Fully vaccinated domestic travelers can still bypass pre-travel testing and quarantine.
For air travelers 5 and older entering Hawaii from abroad, getting a test from one of Hawaii's approved Trusted Testing Partners will be particularly important because some tests accepted under the US testing entry requirement that went into effect in January would not allow travelers to bypass Hawaii's quarantine.
Travelers, including those arriving from the US mainland, must have a negative test result before departing on the last leg of their trip to Hawaii unless fully vaccinated. Test results must be uploaded to the Safe Travels Hawaii site before your flight to the islands or printed out prior to departure with the hard copy ready to present upon arrival. Otherwise, you will incur the 10-day quarantine.
Registration with Safe Travels Hawaii as soon as flights are booked is mandatory for all travelers older than 18.
All restrictions on intercounty travel remain lifted, meaning no pre-travel testing or quarantining is needed for travel between the Hawaiian islands.

What's the Covid situation?

With almost 82,000 cases and 857 deaths reported as of October 15, Hawaii has seen relatively low Covid numbers compared with other US states. It's had the some of strictest lockdown and 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.

What can visitors expect?

Honululu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced "Safe Access O'ahu," which requires patrons and employees of restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums, arcades and other types of establishments to be fully vaccinated to enter. There are a few exceptions. Among them:
-- Customers with proof of a negative Covid-19 test result (molecular or antigen) taken with 48 hours of entry into the covered premises along with another piece of ID.
-- Children younger than 12 years old.
Maui is taking similar steps with its "Safer Outside" program. Maui has recently relaxed some of the restrictions. They include:
-- Social gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors
-- Testing within 48 hours is now an option for unvaccinated patrons wanting to dine indoors
-- Restaurants and bars can now close at midnight instead of 10 p.m.
Some restrictions can vary by island, but masks are no longer required outside on a statewide basis. However, mask wearing is highly recommended when in a large group outdoors. Indoors, masks are required in public indoor settings unless you're eating and drinking.
Parks and beaches are still open.
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.