When Will Hawaii Reopen and End Its Mandatory 14 Day Quarantine for Arrivals? A TravelSort reader wrote us: “We're hoping to take a June vacation in Hawaii, but will the islands reopen to visitors by then? We won't go if we have to stay in our hotel room the entire time.”
While Hawaii, as a U.S. state, can't stop arriving flights, but it was the first U.S. state to institute a 14 day self-quarantine for all arrivals, both returning Hawaii residents and visitors. Hawaii's quarantine for arrivals requires staying in one's hotel or residence full-time: no time outside is permitted except for seeking medical treatment, so that means all food/meals must be delivered, and there's no beach time, pool time, exercise time, visitors (except by a physician or healthcare provider) permitted. Violators are subject to fines up to $5000, imprisonment up to 1 year, or both.
Hawaii also has a Stay at Home order in place for all residents, with exceptions for essential services, which is in place through at least April 30, 2020; this could be extended.
Hawaii Has Fewer Coronavirus Cases Than Most States
Given the significant number of travelers Hawaii received up until just a few weeks ago, it has relatively few coronavirus cases and deaths compared to most U.S. states: ~580, and 10 deaths, at time of writing. Only Montana, Alaska and Wyoming have fewer confirmed coronavirus cases.
Lack of Testing and Contact Tracing Remain Issues
That said, as with many other states, there's a shortage of testing, and only those with symptoms or who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 are being tested. About 25,000 have been tested to date, with ~2.3% testing positive, which is very good compared to many states, although not nearly as good as Iceland, where fewer than 1% of those tested were positive for coronavirus.
Hawaii has been using volunteers to supplement its team of contact tracers, but the team is still understaffed.
Some Hotels Expect to Reopen in May or June
The Four Seasons Maui at Wailea and Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island are taking new reservations for arrivals starting June 1, 2020, while Four Seasons Lanai is taking reservations from May 1, 2020, although I'd be shocked if it's able to reopen to non-Hawaii residents by then.
Airlines are Suspending Many Routes Through at Least April 2020
In line with the Stay at Home orders, many airlines are suspending routes through at least the end of April, and these suspensions are likely to be extended if the state extends its Stay at Home order or only moderately relaxes it.
Recommendation: Postpone Hawaii Travel Until Fall
While Hawaii may relax its Stay at Home order by stages, starting sometime in May, we wouldn't be surprised to see the state continue to be mostly shut down until June, and restrictions gradually relaxed in stages. Because of this, we'd recommend rescheduling and postponing Hawaii travel until fall, especially as it may take time for resorts, restaurants, and sights to adjust to new social distancing guidelines that will remain important over the next 18 months or so, or until an effective vaccine can be developed.
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