Finally, some good news: Hawaii is back in business.
Yesterday, Governor David Ige announced that tourists are welcome to resume visitation starting November 1st, two months after he specifically asked tourists to stay away while the islands dealt with rising COVID-19 infections attributed to the Delta variant.
“Beginning Nov. 1, we want to invite and encourage fully vaccinated visitors and residents to travel for business or leisure trans-Pacific and inter-island,” Ige said.
To be fair, Hawaii was never really closed. Yes, Ige asked tourists to “stay away,” but he never put any restrictions in place that prevented visitors from coming.
That said, his proclamation did deter people from coming, and visitation declined overall as a result of his announcement. Now, the islands seem poised to dive back into tourism full force with the holidays approaching.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
The Safe Travels program is still in effect.
All travelers must still register their trips on the Safe Travels website. Vaccinated travelers or those that present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival can avoid quarantine.
You can visit if you are unvaccinated.
Despite Ige’s specific mention of vaccinated travelers in his announcement, unvaccinated visitors are still welcome to visit, providing they present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.
No tests are needed to travel inter-island.
This is true no matter your vaccination status.
Oahu and Maui still have stricter rules in place about dining out.
The unvaccinated should also be aware that, on Oahu and Maui, you need to present a negative COVID test to dine out and enter other public spaces. The programs are called Safe Access Oahu and Safer Outside, respectively.
It’s a great time to visit Hawaii!
The timing of this announcement couldn’t be more perfect. The summer rush is over, leaving the islands less crowded, and even better, Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island has started erupting again. The lava is currently visible with the naked eye, both during the day and at night. You can read more about how to experience it here.