Kaua‘i’s mayor seeks to rejoin the state’s Safe Travels program for incoming travelers in April.
On Tuesday, March 2, Mayor Derek SK Kawakami submitted proposed Emergency Rule 25 to Gov. David Ige for approval, which re-establishes the state’s travel program in Kaua‘i County on April 5. If approved, it would no longer be necessary for out-of-state visitors to stay in a Resort Bubble or spend time on another Hawaiian island before traveling to Kaua‘i in order to receive a quarantine exemption.
The move is a shift from recent statements from the mayor, during which he’d indicated the county might stick to a mandatory quarantine for another several months.
“Kaua‘i remains one of the safest places in the United States throughout the pandemic, thanks to the efforts of our community-minded residents and health-focused travel restrictions,” Kawakami said. “Over the past few months our community’s efforts have allowed us this opportunity to safely rejoin the state’s Safe Travels program. At this time, more than 24,000 doses of vaccine have been administered on Kaua‘i, and by April we are confident that employees in the hospitality and food service industries will be offered vaccines. Case counts across the state and on the mainland are stabilizing. Our local hospitals are working closely together and have surge plans in place for additional ICU capacity, if needed. They have also obtained more equipment and have COVID testing and treatment options available to respond to any increase in COVID-19 cases.”
Since May of 2020, Kaua‘i businesses of many types, as well as many sports and social activities, have been allowed to operate and remain open with crowd size limitations, physical distance, and masking requirements, while other areas have experienced surges and increased restrictions.
“It has been one year since the pandemic reached Hawai‘i and we thank the people of Kaua‘i for their sacrifices which have allowed us to remain safe, healthy, and open,” said Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i District Health Officer. “With the distribution of vaccine to high-risk groups and the improving situation on the mainland, the Kaua‘i District Health Office supports opening Trans-Pacific travel with a single pre-travel test at this time. We continue to monitor new developments, particularly the transmission of new variants, and we emphasize the need for everyone to continue to practice mask wearing, physical distancing and other safety precautions.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to advise travelers to take a pre- and post-travel test.
As an added safety measure, the County of Kaua‘i and Kaua‘i District Health Office have partnered to offer free COVID-19 testing at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who recently traveled and employees in high-risk industries are encouraged to utilize this free testing program.
Additionally, the following Kaua‘i hotels have committed to supporting post-travel testing to their guests:
·Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club
·Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa
·The Cliffs at Princeville
·The Club at Kukui‘ula
·Timbers Kaua‘i at Hoku‘ala
·Sheraton Kaua‘i at Coconut Beach
·The Point at Po‘ipū
·Hanalei Colony Resort
·Kōloa Landing Resort
“While post-travel tests will not be mandatory, we are grateful to our visitor industry partners for going above and beyond to keep our community safe by encouraging their guests to take a test after arrival,” Kawakami added. “We have a number of Kaua‘i properties already committed and we expect more to come online in the coming weeks.”
If approved, beginning April 5 travelers could avoid quarantine by taking the following steps:
·Take a pre-travel test from one of the State of Hawai‘i’s Trusted Testing and Travel Partners within 72 hours of departing to Kaua‘i: https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/ (Tests taken from any other lab will not be accepted).
·Create a Safe Travels account and complete the mandatory State of Hawai‘i Travel and Health Form: https://travel.hawaii.gov/
·Upload negative test results to your Safe Travels account before traveling to Hawai‘i (Travelers who arrive without uploading the negative test result will not be accepted).
For more information about the State of Hawai‘i Safe Travels program requirements, visit: https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/getting-to-hawaii/.
Proof of vaccination is not a recognized exemption to the State of Hawaiʻi travel quarantine at this time. The state continues to evaluate this policy and will inform travelers of any new exemptions as those decisions are made.
For more information on COVID-19 on Kaua‘i and the travel rules, visit www.kauai.gov/COVID-19.