Hawaii is relaxing its travel rules for visitors in August ©Shutterstock

Hawaii postpones tourism restart date to September

Maintrip July 14, 2020

Last Update: 2020-07-14 11:41:12

Hawaii has pushed its tourism restart date back by at least another month after announcing in June that it would reopen its borders to out-of-state tourists in August. 

Hawaiian authorities had originally stated that tourists would be welcome, provided they present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test , taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival. However, it has since become clear that tests results are taking longer than 72 hours to be processed. In some cases, they can take up to a week. And there are still fears that travelers could contract the virus in between the time they take the test and arrive in Hawaii. 

Passengers arriving into the state must continue to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival until at least September 1 while the specific protocols are being worked out. In addition, they are required to fill out the State Travel and Health form. "This was an extremely difficult decision," Governor David Ige tweeted. "This delay will further hurt our economy, but as I’ve always said - we will make decisions prioritizing the health and safety of our residents."

Once the program is in place travelers can bypass Hawaii's two-week quarantine period if they get tested for COVID-19 and present evidence of a negative result upon arrival, similar to Alaska's travel rules. Arrivals, however, can't get tested in the airport. Instead, they must get checked at a health centre approved by the state's department of health. Visitors must take the test must no more than 72 hours before arriving at the islands and must cover the cost of testing themselves.

Tourists on the beach front at sunset on Waikiki beach ©Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock
Tourists on the beach front at sunset on Waikiki beach ©Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock

Hawaii's 14-day quarantine rule was issued in March, and has been extended numerous times, most recently until 31 July. Travelers have been required to quarantine for two weeks in designated locations or face or face penalties including a US$5000 fine.

As tourism is expected to gradually resume again in August, Governor Ige said, "now is the time to work together to ensure that our local businesses can safely re-open to incoming travelers." More than ten million people traveled to Hawai'i in 2019, according to the state tourism authority.