Hawaii Reopens to Tourism
Things to know about visiting a reopening Hawaii
Pre-Travel Testing Program now allows the bypass of quarantine
Last Updated: January 26, 2021, at 11:30 am HST
Undoubtedly, many visitors have been keeping a close eye on Hawaii and its process of reopening to visitors and tourists. Since late March, there has been a multi-day quarantine, currently 10 days, with multiple Hawaii travel restrictions, but Hawaii has now relaxed the mandatory 10-day quarantine policy, allowing travelers to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test, from a state-approved testing partner, instead.
As you may know, Hawaii residents have sacrificed a great deal to keep their communities safe during this pandemic and, in doing so, have achieved one of the lowest COVID-19 case rates and lowest virus transmission rates of any state in the nation. Now that visitors can once again enjoy Hawaii's remarkable natural beauty, great open spaces, unique experiences, and signature hospitality, the state of Hawaii is asking for your kokua (help) to join in the efforts to keep Hawaii safe.
Hawaii's re-opening has honestly been an evolving process with numerous changes and ongoing updates. We recognize that this, unfortunately, causes confusion to potential travelers, and we are continuing to monitor this situation closely. We will provide additional updates here regularly, from official sources, on this page as additional information becomes available to us. We also encourage our readers to sign up for our 'Hawaii Travel Update' emails to receive pertinent information on all of the recent developments regarding travel to Hawaii.
Latest Travel News & Second tests?
Beginning last October 2020, we've created a new page dedicated to the day-by-day updates that are occurring with Hawaii's reopening process: Hawaii COVID-19 Travel News & Headlines →
At this point, what we do know for certain is that the Governor and Lt. Gov. have both confirmed that only a single test will be needed to initially bypass the quarantine requirement at the statewide level; this test MUST be from a trusted partner!
A second post-arrival test may be required depending on which island(s) travelers visit, please see the testing news & updates section for the latest information on each island's travel requirements. These second post-arrival tests are considered an extra layer of screening for COVID-19 in addition to the trans-pacific pre-arrival testing program.
All Kauai Visitors MUST Quarantine at this time
- Currently, all transpacific and intercounty travelers arriving on Kauai will be subject to the 10-day quarantine regardless of testing.
- Emergency Rule 23 temporarily pauses Kauai's participation in the state's pre-travel testing program. Read the full press release here.
- The pre-travel testing program remains in place for all other counties in Hawaii.
- In late December 2020, Governor Ige approved Kauai Mayor Kawakami's request to implement a pre-and-post-travel testing program for visitors who stay in "resort bubble" hotels. It will allow travelers who participate in the program to enjoy the resort amenities for the first three days of their vacation until they are eligible to take their post-travel test. Once the post-travel test shows they are COVID-free, they will be released from quarantine and can leave the "resort bubble."
- Currently, intercounty travelers to Kauai will be allowed to participate in the state of Hawaii's Safe Travels program and be exempt from the 10-day travel quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no less than 72 hours before intercounty travel. This is only for inter-county travel and does not apply to any transpacific travel.
Summary of topics discussed on this page. Click any link to drop down to that specific question.
- Do you have to test for COVID-19 to visit Hawaii?
- FAQ and Traveler Clarifications for future travelers...
- Do you have to Quarantine upon arriving in Hawaii?
- Hawaii's new Safe Travels program explained...
- Will there be testing available in Hawaii?
- Where can I be tested locally?
- Who is responsible for the test cost?
- What is the status of Hawaii Cruises?
- Are Facemasks required in Hawaii?
- Status of inter-island travel
Additionally, visitors may be interested in reading our Hawaii Travel Restrictions & Requirements article.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Do you have to test for COVID-19 to visit Hawaii?
The pre-testing travel program now effectively opens up the islands to visitors, as long as they bring along proof of a negative COVID-19 test and complete a State Dept. of Agriculture paper form (distributed on all flights) prior to arrival within the state.
Travelers who, upon entry into the state, provide written confirmation from a state-approved COVID-19 testing facility of a negative test result, received prior to departure, from a test administered to the traveler within 72 hours from the final leg of departure, will be able to bypass Hawaii’s mandatory quarantine order.
To reiterate, this test result must be confirmed prior to arrival in Hawaii, and the visitor must present evidence of this test upon arrival. According to the Lt. Governor, more testing options may become available. See our traveler FAQ section below for more information.
- The testing expense will be the responsibility of the traveler and no testing will be available upon arrival at the airports in Hawaii. If a visitor accidentally takes the wrong test, the traveler will be required to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival.
- Travelers will be able to upload their negative test result when they complete their travel and health forms on the Safe Travels digital system: travel.hawaii.gov
- Travelers wishing to bypass the 10-day mandatory quarantine must have their negative COVID-19 test results, from a trusted testing partner, prior to departure for the state of Hawaii. If test results are not available before boarding the final leg of the trip, the traveler must quarantine for 10 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter. Previously, if the results were not available upon arrival at a Hawaii airport, a traveler simply needed to wait for their negative result to come in before they could be released from quarantine. This will no longer be the case beginning November 24th.
- All travelers, including all children 5 and older, are subject to pre-test requirements.
Trusted Testing Partners
- Current approved & trusted testing partners can be found on our new page: Hawaii COVID Testing Partners →
- Additional information can also be found on our page for Hawaii's Testing Requirements & Procedures →
- Travelers (returning residents and visitors) are not able to test upon arrival in Hawaii because this is a pre-travel testing program.
- The Hawaii State Dept. of Agriculture paper form continues to be distributed to passengers during flights and is still required to be completed prior to arrival.
- The pre-test is one part of a multi-layered screening process, including arrival temperature checks, completion of the State Travel and Health form, and secondary screening at the airport, with trained healthcare staff, for those with symptoms or temperatures of 100.4 degrees or higher.
- Upon arrival, all travelers will undergo a temperature scan at their arrival gate. Travelers with temperatures of 100.4 and above will be taken to secondary screening by trained health personnel.
- If the traveler has a printout of their negative result and has not yet uploaded it on the Safe Travels digital system, airport screeners upon arrival will take a photo of the hard-copy negative test result.
Recent Traveler FAQs & Clarifications
Do I need a NAAT, PCR, or a Saliva-based test?
For visitors seeking to know which type of COVID-19 test will be approved as a pre-travel test; here is the official response from the Hawaii State DOH on the "state-approved" testing requirements: "A 'state-approved COVID-19 test' means a test to determine the presence of active COVID-19 infection that has been approved for use under these rules by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH). Currently approved is the processing by laboratories that are licensed or certified by Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of specimens for nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) approved or authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pursuant to an Emergency Use Authorization or other authorization for COVID-19 testing."
That said, we're not medical experts and cannot provide medical advice or clarify the technical distinction between many of the different types of COVID-19 tests. However, at this point in time, the wording above is the most precise information we have to share with potential visitors. Current approved & trusted testing partners can be found on our updated page: Hawaii COVID Partners & Costs. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and update this page accordingly with verified information from official state sources.
SOCIAL-DISTANCE WITH SELF-GUIDED AUDIO TOURS
My final destination is not Oahu, but I transit through Honolulu. What do I need to do?
Upon arrival at the Honolulu airport, you will show your QR code to the screener. Once your screening is complete at the Honolulu airport, you will need to complete another Safe Travels Program application. This will apply for your trip from the Honolulu airport to the neighbor island, which is your final destination. This also will be the process if you arrive at the Maui airport and transit to another island.
What happens if the inter-island travel quarantine is still in place?
If you have just a layover in Honolulu on Oahu then the negative test result is good through to your final destination. If your break in Honolulu is more than a layover, then you will be required to abide by the current interisland quarantine rules.
How do I provide proof of my negative test result?
Upload your negative result within the Safe Travels account you setup. Then, 24-hours prior to boarding your flight, log into the Safe Travels account to answer a health questionnaire, and receive your QR code.
The Hawaii State Department of Health is advising you to keep this negative test result with you as you may be asked to show your negative test result upon checking in at your accommodations.
What about the new Airline tests?
Information on the airlines participating, including costs associated with testing, can be found on our new page: Hawaii COVID Trusted Testing Partners →
Is it an FDA-Authorized OR FDA-Approved NAAT Test?
We wanted to post this to provide clarification to visitors that the NAAT test needed 72-hours before the final leg of your flight is an FDA-Authorized test, and not FDA-approved; there is currently no such thing as the latter (as of mid-September). This detail has been posted erroneously on multiple websites, including official sources, and we also mistakenly posted this incorrectly as well. We apologize for the error and wanted to ensure we clarified this to visitors. Current approved & trusted testing partners can be found on our new page: Hawaii COVID Testing Partners →
72-hours prior to arrival OR prior to departure?
According to the official sources we're relying on (the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and the State of Hawaii's State Department of Health COVID-19 Resource page) the negative result must be "administered to the traveler within 72 hours from the final leg of departure." This means that you must have received your test result, prior to departure, no later than 72-hours before departing the final city in route to Hawaii.
Do you have to Quarantine upon arriving in Hawaii?
If a visitor is not able to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, received prior to departure, taken, at most, 72 hours from the final leg of departure to Hawaii, then they would be required to quarantine for 10 days, or however long they remain on the island, whichever is shorter in duration. You can read more on our Hawaii Travel Requirements page.
- As we noted above, travelers wishing to bypass the 10-day mandatory quarantine must have their negative COVID-19 test results, from a trusted testing partner, prior to departure for the state of Hawaii. If test results are not available before boarding the final leg of the trip, the traveler must quarantine for 10 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter.
- Currently, all visitors to Kauai will be required to quarantine for 10-days, regardless of having a test result or not, until further notice. See our Hawaii Travel Restrictions page for the latest Kauai updates.
- For visitors who refuse the 10-day quarantine, the passenger must make arrangements to leave the island immediately without leaving the airport.
- People who are required to self-quarantine for 10 days must designate a hotel or motel as their designated quarantine location.
- No person who is subject to the mandatory self-quarantine is allowed to stay in a short-term or vacation rental.
- Additionally, operations that rent vehicles may not rent to any person who is subject to a 10-day traveler quarantine order unless an exemption is granted.
Violation of the quarantine is a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. Enforcement will be handled by each of Hawaii’s four counties.
Hawaii 'Safe Travels' Program
- The State of Hawaii's new online Safe Travels program is now mandatory for all travelers.
- This program, which collects the required health and travel information, is critical to protecting the health of residents and visitors alike.
- For common questions or other issues with the 'Safe Travels' application, visitors can click here.
Recommendations & Process
- Travelers are encouraged to enter their information and trip details well in advance of their flight.
- Once their health information is entered 24 hours before departure, travelers receive a QR code via email.
- The QR code on their mobile device OR printed on paper gets scanned by the airport screener upon arrival.
For more information, see the Safe Travels program section on our 'Hawaii Travel Restrictions' page.
Hawaii Cruiselines Status
Can I take a cruise around or to Hawaii?
For more information on Hawaii Cruises & Sailing, including what each cruise line in planning for Hawaii, view our Hawaii Cruiselines Status Updates →
Hawaii Attractions & Parks
Are state and national parks open?
Generally speaking, yes, most state and national parks are open at this time. For additional information, we've recently created a new article about Hawaii Attractions & Parks - What's Reopening?
Hawaii Hotels, B&B's, and Inns
What accommodations are open, closed, and re-opening Soon?
For more information on Hawaii Hotels, Resorts, B&B's, Inn's and other accommodations, including when each is planning to re-open for visitors, visit our section on Hawaii Hotels - What's Open, Closed, and Reopening Soon →
Will there be testing available in Hawaii?
No, all visitors must have received a negative COVID-19 test, typically performed using a nasal swab, no more than 72 hours from the final leg of departure before arriving in Hawaii. This applies to visitors of all ages 5 and older.
For visitors who cannot provide evidence of a negative test result upon arrival in Hawaii, the 10-day quarantine will remain in effect.
If the quarantine is refused, the passenger must make arrangements to leave the island immediately without leaving the airport.
Where can I be tested locally before visiting?
Current approved & trusted testing partners can be found on our new page: Hawaii COVID Testing Partners →
Remember, you must provide written confirmation from a state-approved COVID-19 testing facility of a negative test result upon entry into Hawaii. Travelers will be able to upload their negative test result when they complete their travel and health forms on the Safe Travels digital system, found at travel.hawaii.gov
Will antibody or antigen testing results be accepted?
No! An antibody or antigen test will NOT be accepted by the state of Hawaii as part of the pre-travel testing program. This policy is according to the Department of Health FAQ.
Do I need a doctor’s order to get the test?
This varies by location. Please check with your doctor or review the health requirements in your area.
Who is responsible for the test cost?
Each visitor is responsible for paying for their own test and all costs included for such tests. We want to stress again, this test must be done prior to arriving in Hawaii.
We've attempted to research the pricing for these tests, but the results are pretty varied based on several factors - including your location, whether your insurance covers the cost, whether you're showing any symptoms (and thus can actually get a test or not), etc. We recognize the fact that there is a lot of confusion around the test timeline and how to actually acquire a test if you're not showing any signs of illness (this stipulation seems to vary by geographic location). We will continue to provide updates on this page as clarity is provided to us by both the Governor of Hawaii and/or the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
We encourage you to also sign up for updates on our mailing list using the form below; we are currently sending about two updates per month to subscribers on that list as new information becomes available to us.
Ultimately, at this time we believe most visitors can expect to pay around $90 to $200 when opting to pay for this test out-of-pocket themselves; IF they can actually get a test in their location. Again, that's a very rough estimate and your experience with the test pricing may vary based on location and other factors (insurance, etc.)
Trusted Partnership Update
Current approved & trusted testing partners, with links to their respective websites and COVID-19 testing programs, can be found on our new page: Hawaii COVID Pre-Travel Testing Partners →
Please contact us if you have had a different experience with testing costs so we can share the details with other travelers. We've heard from several future visitors already who are having problems with determining the test pricing locally, actually getting a test in the proper timeline, etc. We'll continue to update this page as information becomes available to us.
Are facemasks required in Hawaii?
All travelers to Hawaii should always wear a mask while visiting Hawaii during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only because it's the right way to show Aloha, but also because in most situations, wearing a mask is required by law. Governor David Ige has now implemented a statewide mask mandate in Hawaii. Unless you are in your room/house/condo, at the beach, or actively eating in a restaurant, you should wear a mask while in Hawaii, especially if you cannot properly socially distance (six feet minimum).
At this time, everyone must officially wear face masks in all public spaces in Hawaii. This includes most situations outdoors!
Each county may additionally have its own unique rules; we've included the individual county links below:
Additional Hawaii Resources
COVID-19 Information & Links
The following resources have been compiled by GoUS Hawaii to better assist travelers in navigating the various restrictions and state-approved test requirements for visiting Hawaii during the COVID pandemic. If you have questions, we are always happy to assist, and you can contact us anytime. You may also want to direct your questions to an official state resource, and we've compiled an updated list of Hawaii Official COVID-19 Contacts for travelers, including phone numbers and email addresses when applicable.
What about inter-island travel?
We've recently updated the rules regarding island-island travel, including testing rules, in our Hawaii Travel Restrictions - Inter-island FAQ →
Inter-island travelers may additionally be interested in learning more about the official trusted inter-island pre-travel partners →
What is Hawaii doing to encourage tourism?
Hawaii’s economy is, for better or worse, heavily reliant on tourism. The longstanding quarantine rules that began in late March 2020 have resulted in widespread unemployment across the islands, which is undoubtedly one of the motivating factors behind the phased reopening.
At this time, there are no plans to cover COVID-19-related medical or quarantine costs for travelers who may incur those expenses during their trip.
Visitors should know that Hawaii’s visitor industry continues to maintain the highest standards for sanitation and has taken additional steps to enhance its efforts at hotels, attractions, restaurants, and other public spaces across the Hawaiian Islands to prevent the spread of infectious diseases amongst residents and visitors. The industry is also taking continued steps to educate its workforce on practicing good hygiene at home and on the job.
What to expect if you travel to Hawaii
Across much of the Hawaiian islands, normal life has resumed with physical distancing rules in place, some capacity restrictions, and mask-wearing is encouraged. Beaches, outdoor attractions, and restaurants across the state have opened for business in this fashion**.
At this time, large-scale events and festivals are still not permitted and have mostly been canceled throughout early-to-mid 2021. Some tour operators have also informed us they are waiting until this spring or summer, in 2021, to re-open.
Everyone must continue to wear facial masks when entering places of business and as outlined in the governor’s Emergency Rules.
**The four Hawaii counties have different and varying guidelines, details by island:
Upcoming Months of Travel
We think it is safe to say that any month of the year you will not be disappointed when you visit the Hawaiian islands. Here's an overview of what to expect in the coming months. Not sure when to visit? Read about the Best Month to Visit, where we present an overview of each month OR take the quiz on our Best Time to Visit Hawaii page.
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Information Disclaimer: Details and information on this page, including dates, may change on a day-by-day basis. While we will be making every effort to keep these pages relevant and up to date, the decision to travel is ultimately your own responsibility. Please travel safely and keep an eye on our Hawaii Travel Requirements page for more information regarding COVID-19 and re-opening in Hawaii.