Hawaii Extends Tourist Ban Through End Of July

Filed Under: Hawaiian, Travel

Update: As of August 1, 2020, Hawaii was supposed to allow travelers to get tested in lieu of a 14-day quarantine, though that no longer seems to be the case.

Hawaii will continue to remain off limits for most visitors through at least the end of July, per an extension of an existing policy.

Hawaii extends 14-day self quarantine through July 31, 2020

In late March Hawaii introduced a required 14-day self quarantine for people arriving from out-of-state. This included both visitors and residents, and for a vast majority of people meant Hawaii wasn’t a viable option for a vacation.

Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day self quarantine for arrivals was supposed to expire on June 30, 2020, but has now been extended through July 31, 2020. If Hawaii was in your travel plans for travel next month, it’s probably not anymore.

This mandate applies to private and commercial aircraft arriving from out-of-state. Arriving passengers are required to initial and sign an order acknowledging that violating the order is a criminal offense, and subject to up to a $5,000 fine and/or a year of imprisonment.

While any American can travel to Hawaii, the reality is that you’ll need to stay somewhere for two weeks before you can start your vacation, and that’s a deal-breaker for a vast majority of people.

Hawaii remains off limits to most visitors

Hawaii may require testing in the future

At this point Hawaii is the state with the most stringent self quarantine regulations for out-of-state-visitors. Until recently Alaska also required a 14-day self quarantine, but as of last week Alaska started allowing people to skip this if they would take a COVID-19 test, either before departure or after arrival.

Hawaii has had COVID-19 pretty well under control, and has seen an average of just a couple of new cases per day in recent weeks.

While Hawaii will maintain the current policy through July 31, the state is looking into the possibility of offering testing before travel in the future, though no concrete plans have been announced.

Hawaii faces the challenge that so many other destinations face:

  • Tourism makes up over 20% of Hawaii’s economy, so presumably Hawaii really would love to open up to tourists again
  • Hawaii faces a lot of challenges compared to the mainland in terms of resources, and a spike in cases could prove more problematic there than elsewhere

As we see more tourist destinations welcome people who have taken a COVID-19 test, we’ll have more data points as to just how effective that is. Is requiring a test before departure, or offering one upon arrival, enough? Only time will tell.

Hawaii could welcome visitors who were tested in the future

Bottom line

Hawaii will continue to require a 14-day self quarantine upon arrival for anyone arriving from out-of-state through at least July 31, 2020. This represents a one month extension over the previous policy. Presumably this has the potential to be extended once again.

While this isn’t an actual tourist ban, a 14-day self quarantine will mean that a vast majority of people won’t be vacationing in Hawaii.

Hawaii is facing the same challenge as so many destinations that rely on tourism — if case numbers are low (as they are in Hawaii), is it better to reopen to get tourists dollars, or stay closed until things improve globally?

Comments
  1. Well that spells a death blow for a good portion of the summer travel for a lot of travelers especially those of us here on the west coast. One can only imagine how long it will take the properties in the islands to get truly opened it’s not like say a Best Western off an interstate where you can more or less flip a switch.
    It’s really sad for the local Hawaiian workers with lost wages, then after that the taxpayers of Hawaii that will be paying the unemployment, finally all American taxpayers who in turn will be paying for this mess for another decade.

  2. The current projections are that lifting the quarantine requirement will result in cases per day surging to the low double-digits, 20-30 new cases per day, up from the current single-digit increases. That in itself is an increase over the 0-2 per day the state had when it was fully locked down.

    20-30 new cases per day can be handled by the existing medical infrastructure, but it’s based on a lot of assumptions that may or may not hold true (e.g. that a single infected person won’t infect most of a plane, etc.).

    If they don’t hold true we might see the state locked down again if cases spike.

  3. Heh, if the second wave is a very real thing, esp. with the mass protests, then they just might stay closed for the rest of the year. Really can’t assume they’ll really fully open after July.

  4. Not everyone take it the Hawaiians personally for protecting their islands and lives. It is a hard decision to decide when is the right time to open up. Open early and risk an outbreak of infection or open late then risking ruining the economy. Just hope they get the right decision at the right time and ignore those ignorant ones who are just wanting to leave their city for no reason and just want to spread the virus and infect as much as many!

  5. Time for NJ and NYC to do the same.

    We’ve worked so hard to have people from Florida and Texas ruin things because they couldnt wait another 3 weeks to go to a bar.

  6. I am all for bans, protecting your territory, etc, but, legally speaking, its unconstitutional to put up onerous bans for travel between the various states of the United States. See Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969).

  7. The large hotel chains will be okay long term but that’s about it.

    The independent tour operators, family businesses, and other tourism businesses may not recover.

    I have friends there who are telling me that there is a slow exodus of business owners who know that they can’t survive.

    I also suspect that Hawaiian Airlines may be the first airline in the US to declare bankruptcy in the fall.

  8. @Darren not taking this personally. They gotta do what they gotta do, states rights etc.

    @James S add California to the list — their curve is also doing the opposite of flattening

  9. @ClarenceThomson

    The case Shapiro v. Thompson put into question the ability and ease of obtaining public assistance when moving within the U.S. This case is entirely different than what we are seeing now, and its precedent cannot be applied. The “ban” is not essentially a ban: flights exists between the mainland and the islands, and an individual is able to travel to Hawaii. However, the only deterrent (as we will call it) is a 14-day quarantine period, which means 99% of the general public will “personally choose” not to travel to Hawaii during this time.

    The government is not denying the right to travel – they are just making it more difficult to do so. And given their geographic positioning and size of infrastructure, I find it to be a very good idea. Wish Puerto Rico did the same.

  10. @James S-I doubt that there will be an influx of tourists from Texas, Florida, or anywhere on Earth to NJ or NY anytime soon. So sit back and relax.

  11. @Ricardo Gomez

    Kentucky’s travel ban was struck down as unconstitutional and it required out of state people to quarantine. I do believe the quarantine was necessary, but it didn’t pass constitutional muster. “The Court is aware that the pandemic now pervading the nation must be dealt with, but without violating the public’s constitutional rights. Not only is there a lack of procedural
    due process with respect to the Travel Ban, but the above examples show that these travel regulations are not narrowly tailored to achieve the government’s purpose.” Roberts v. Neace, Civil Action NO. 2:20-cv-054 (E.D. Ky. 2020). However, I will grant you that Hawaii and Puerto Rico are in the unique position of being islands that can circumscribe travel more so than the contiguous states.

  12. @James: Your opinion has already been invalidated by the last 2 weeks of protests/riots. Which had neither social distancing, nor scorn from (previously lockdown happy) mayors and governors. So, dining in: bad, but thousands on the streets: good. Unless a lot of those people start dropping dead from Covid in a couple of days, we will have found that this was an overreaction of biblical proportions. And that Texas, Georgia and Florida were the smart ones.

  13. I feel so sorry for the small businesses and people employed in the tourism sector in Hawaii. It’ll be a massacre. I think people forget that the economy and people’s livelihoods are not simply abstract, capitalist ideas. They’re how, for all intents and purposes, human health and happiness comes about. We need to be aware of this huge trade off.

    I hope that as the next few weeks go by, and if hospitalisations remain stable in the continental US, they’ll consider easing this. As things stand, despite the narrative, there’s a lot to be positive about. Numbers in the US are on a downward trajectory (once you factor in increased testing; and weird reporting practices which make it really hard to understand the numbers states are reporting). You also really need to remember that 1,000 cases a day amongst a healthy population is not the same as 1,000 cases amongst a nursing home population. We shouldn’t obsess over case numbers in and of itself. We should obsess over hospitalisations (making sure the healthcare system has capacity, which it has even during the worst predictions in NY); and protecting the vulnerable (nursing home residents and those already in hospital are the vast majority of deaths).

  14. I live on Maui and some of my Maui friends aren’t happy with the extended quarantine through July 31st and that is completely understandable and I sympathize with those out of work and struggling. I sent this text to a client explaining Hawaii’s VERY unique situation. Please read to the end. “Especially interesting is the “neighbor island beds” at bottom of the article. Unfortunately for Hawaii unlike much of the US, is people come here from around the WORLD to vacation in vacation mode…..”A new tally from the Healthcare Association of Hawaii shows that Hawaii has a total of 3,069 licensed beds and 340 intensive care units, including hospital beds at military hospitals.
    In the event Hawaii needs to expand its hospital capacity, it will be a “very difficult task,” DOH Director Bruce Anderson told Civil Beat on Tuesday, when asked about the potential to open up more bed space.
    “Hospital capacity is close to maximum even under normal circumstances,” he said.
    Hawaii hospitals are already largely occupied, according to the most recent report from the Hawaii State Health Planning & Development Agency in 2019, which shows most facilities run at 60% to 67% occupancy, including critical care beds, skilled nursing beds, and beds that “swing” between acute and skilled nursing facility needs.
    If COVID-19 patients do fill hospitals, Raethel said Hawaii Healthcare Emergency Management can stand up temporary units of 10 to 20 beds, for a total statewide capacity of 150 beds for non-COVID patients.
    “All of the hospitals are taking important steps to ensure that services and capacity are available, and not just for those who are ill with COVID-19, but for everyone who needs acute care,” he added.
    To some, the outlook looks especially bleak for neighbor islands. Kauai has 9 ICU beds, Maui has 29, and Hawaii Island has 24. Regular hospital bed inventory is larger, with Kauai having 111, Maui 242, and the Big Island 242 state-licensed beds.”

  15. Governor Ige doesn’t care about tourists or tourism related businesses in Hawaii. He will extend the ban as long as he can, and will gain politically because he “protected Hawaii”.

  16. Hawaii is not the only state requiring out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine on arrival…they are just the only one that is putting teeth on the quarantine (i.e. arresting people for breaking it). Most of the Northeast states currently have some form of 14-day self-quarantine required.

  17. Well, forksticks. Last year I grabbed the mistake rate of a lifetime at the GH Kauai for September… Presidential Suite+Attached Bedroom for $500/night. If this gets extended through then, that’ll haunt me for a long time to come.
    Already getting ready to cancel my Etihad Apartments trip SYD-AUH-JFK.

  18. @ClarenceThomas Both of your case cites are wrong. Shapiro doesn’t address quarantine rights, the governing case law is Compagnie Francaise de Navigation de Vapeur v Louisiana Board of Health, which clearly allows states to quarantine visitors unless specifically forbidden to do so by Congress. And no one who passed 1L would think Roberts v Neace was relevant. All Roberts v Neace affirmed was that Kentucky couldn’t treat church services different from any other gathering. If you aren’t a lawyer, which clearly you aren’t, don’t play one on the internet. It’s embarrassing to see someone be so wrong.

  19. One thing Hawaii is considering is requiring a negative test no more than 3 days before arrival, or a negative test upon arrival. So if half the passengers pass a pre-test, half wait to be tested upon arrival, and one or more of that last group tests positive upon arrival, will everyone who was on that plane then have to self-isolate for two weeks?

  20. Ben, this is a mis leading headline. Tourism is not banned. Yes, they have a 14 day quarantine. Rent a beachfront airbnb, or an airbnb in a location you like with ammenities (like a pool) and an airbnb host who will do shopping. I am strongly considering doing this myself.

  21. wylie, airbnb is presently banned indefinitely in Hawaii “due to Covid” (but not hotels)

  22. @Jetaway – NY/NJ are *significantly* more pleasant to be in than TX/FL this time of year

  23. @Bill Short-term vacation rentals (including Airbnb) were already banned prior to COVID.

    Inter-Island quarantine will be lifted June 16, so there’s opportunity for Hawaii residents to support local businesses by doing staycations.

  24. @Clarence

    Depends on what you consider “onerous”.
    Public health law, though rarely used, provides sweeping powers to contain health threats, even up to including denying certain rights to the individual. These laws have stood the test of time and are not “unconstitutional”.

  25. If I’m in ICU because I was infected by careless individuals, the last thing I will be thinking about is the Constitution.

  26. Apparently Wall Street finally gets it. DOW down almost 2K today. Maybe the Chinese/Japanese would like to purchase Hawaii from us? Good deal. Low price.

  27. Glad to see that you’re reporting on the on going crises in Hawaii. I live here so I’ll give you a first hand account. It is estimated At least 30% of the restaurants on Maui will not re-open due to the quarantine. The state went from the lowest national unemployment rate to the highest in a matter of weeks. Maui Mayor Victorino is calling for a 50% reduction in the visitor numbers in the post Covid economy. You can imagine the cost of visiting Maui if he has his way. He had advised workers in the hotel/visitor industry to “get another job” since tourism won’t be coming back anytime soon. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but we are suffering from self inflicted economic wounds that will ruin and destroy thousands of people and businesses. A lawsuit has filled challenging the Governors Proclamations so there is still a glimmer of hope.

  28. Just to be clear – the required quarantine is NOT just for visitors. Returning residents are required to self quarantine for 14 days. And btw – they check up on you! Until next week as I understand it, even those who live on neighbor islands and have to travel to Oahu are required to self quarantine. Travel between the islands is scheduled to open to travel without quarantine on 6/16. As a resident, I have felt pretty safe. These aren’t easy choices for our leaders to make, and I appreciate their willingness to try to find what’s best for those of us that live here.
    We are all, Hawaii And the world, making the best of a bad situation.

  29. Always Flying Somewhere, Short term rentals were banned on the island of Oahu, not on neighbor islands prior to COVID. I happen to know since I work in the industry on Maui. Everything was pretty much booked a year out.
    It was just getting too much on Oahu, just like in many cities worldwide where Airbnb has taken away any long term rental space from folks who actually live and work there. Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Santa Monica, San Francisco to name a few.

    ‘The Land Use Ordinance. The Island of Oahu is part of the City and County of Honolulu. Chapter 21 of Honolulu’s Code, the Land Use Ordinance, governs most land use in Oahu. On June 21st, 2019, Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu signed Bill 89 (CD2) now known as Ordinance 19-18 — New legislation that regulates short term rentals on Oahu.

    The City & County refers to “Short Term Rental” as the commercial use of a residential dwelling, for a stay of less than 30 days. Within this definition, rentals are put into two categories, “Bed & Breakfasts” and “Transient Vacation Units (TVU’s).
    Ordinance 19-18 would allow the County to issue about 1,700 permits for Bed & Breakfasts across the island as soon as October 2020. These permits will be issued by the Department of Permitting & Planning (DPP) via a lottery system. It does not permit any TVU’s outside of the resort zoning without a previously acquired Non-Conforming Use Certificate (NUC).
    You should consult Ordinance 19-18 & the LUO to see if your listing is consistent with current zoning requirements or use definitions

  30. Once the unemployment stimulus is up, he will open the island to everyone. That’s up at the end of July. Right now most people that are out of work are making more not working, but once they stop being able to suck on the taxpayers money you can bet they will be rip roaring and ready to get tourists there.

  31. Maybe Hawaii could join the Australia-New Zealand-Fiji-South Pacific Island non-quarantining bubble now being proposed.
    Of course it would be conditional on fully excluding the US mainland for the foreseeable future.

  32. @glenn Hawai’i might very well open up to the countries you listed before the US mainland. Yesterday, the governor mentioned Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia when discussing potential safe travel corridors (low infection rates similar to Hawai’i), from which Hawai‘i is likely to see its initial flow of incoming travelers.

    @Bill Who is this “us” that would sell my homeland to China/Japan? Oh, maybe you mean the same “us” who imprisoned our queen and stole our land 127 years ago…

  33. @Kamaaina~ super-excited at the prospect of re-visiting Hawaii and its gorgeous people soon!! And no mainland Americans around? win-win!
    Been too long.
    My state (South Australia) has been completely, totally Covid-free for over 3 weeks now.

  34. NO PROBLEM…….. I will give my vacation dollars to a different location. I’m sure with a large portion of the Hawaiian population currently unemployed in tourism, they are doing just great.

  35. @JamesS
    “Time for NJ and NYC to do the same.
    We’ve worked so hard to have people from Florida and Texas ruin things because they couldnt wait another 3 weeks to go to a bar.”

    The truth is NYers fled out of NY and down to Florida when the number of Covid-19 skyrocketed. So, thanks to them, Florida’s numbers, which HAD been nilch, began to show up and now they’re in a steep incline.

    On top of that Florida leaders caters to The administration. Thus, the Convention is coming to Jacksonville, yep Florida. In September.

    So now in June, July, August, Floridians can try to flatten the curve while NYers go home where the weather’s better, only to inundate Florida again in fall and winter. Little chance Florida leaders will protect the state with a ban.

    If people can’t travel to Hawaii, where do they go in winter for beautiful weather? Florida. Then it gets the blame from the snowbirds who brought the problem. Catch-22.

  36. @MauiPeter…. Mahalo for the background. Extremely informative.

    @Kamaaina…. Despite pipe dreams of local lawmakers, travel bubbles aren’t going to work because Hawaii is not a sovereign nation. It will be interesting to see how the State Department rules on this, but don’t keep your hopes up that a Republican administration will bend over backward to help a state that has consistently voted Democrat. No intent to get political… just the way things are in the central Pacific.

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