The resort bubble program is set to end as Kauai moves into Tier 5 of its COVID-19 restrictions, which will go into effect Thursday, July 8.
Mayor Derek SK Kawakami submitted an amended to his Emergency Rule 19 to Gov. David Ige, which was approved, last week as the state reached 60% fully vaccinated residents. The amendment moves Kaua‘i into Tier 5 of its COVID restrictions starting Thursday.
“As of Thursday, Tier 5 will allow gatherings of up to 75 people outdoors or 25 indoors,” Kawakami said. “Restaurants, gyms, buses, and attractions will be able to operate at 75% capacity. “Once Hawai‘i reaches 70% fully vaccinated, we will move to Tier 6 and eliminate all restrictions.”
Vaccination is free and available to everyone age 12 and older. Most clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies on Kaua‘i now accept walk-ins without an appointment. For details, visit kauai.gov/vaccine.
The amended emergency rule also ends the county’s Resort Bubble program on July 8, the same day the State of Hawai‘i eliminates its pre-travel testing/quarantine requirement for domestic travelers to Hawai‘i who have been fully vaccinated in the United States.
“The Resort Bubbles helped keep Kaua‘i safe from community spread of COVID-19 by isolating travelers until they could take a post-arrival test, as recommended by the CDC,” Kawakami said. “Now that vaccine exceptions are going into effect, and our hotels are near capacity, the program is no longer necessary. Mahalo to all the resorts who participated in keeping our community safe and opening until vaccines became widely available.”
The Resort Bubble program was created after Kaua‘i health officials found dozens of COVID-19 cases last fall in travelers who had a negative pre-travel test, then tested positive days after arriving. To prevent community spread, County officials opted out of the State’s pre-travel-only testing program in December 2020, then implemented the Resort Bubble program that mandated post-travel testing more than three days after arrival.
“The program allowed travelers to keep their rescheduled vacations to come to Kaua‘i safely without being locked in their rooms, and it enabled participating resorts to stay open during the difficult months of the pandemic,” said Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho. “Now that millions of Americans have been vaccinated, and Kaua‘i has a reputation as one of the safest places in the country, most of our properties have returned to near capacity.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that unvaccinated travelers “get tested with a viral test three to five days after travel and stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for seven days after travel,” even if they test negative before their trip. Once vaccines became available to all visitor industry and transportation employees, Kaua‘i health officials endorsed rejoining the Safe Travels pre-travel testing program in early April.
Beginning July 8, Transpacific travelers to Hawai‘i can receive a quarantine exception by uploading their CDC-issued vaccination record card to the state’s Safe Travels Program website and having that card with them upon arrival in the State of Hawai‘i. For more information on the state’s Safe Travels program, visit hawaiicovid19.com/travel.
Those who plan to travel can protect themselves and their families by being fully vaccinated before traveling.
For more information on the County of Kaua‘i’s COVID-19 emergency rules, visit kauai.gov/COVID-19.