If you’re planning to travel to Hawaii, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hawaii reopened to visitors from within the United States and a small number of countries in October, but visitors must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test result.
All air passengers entering the United States must now present a negative test result. See below for details on which test types are approved specifically for the state of Hawaii, including for Americans arriving from other states.
What’s on offer
Spectacular surfing, sandy beaches, traditional Pacific culture and rugged volcanoes — including the ongoing eruption of Kīlauea. You can get daily updates on volcanic activity from the US Geological Survey here.
Hawaii’s geographical position and proud history make it unlike anywhere else in the United States.
Who can go
Travelers from other US states, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are allowed to bypass Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day quarantine on most islands by following strict pre-travel testing rules (see below).
Beyond those places, Hawaii is following CDC guidelines, meaning those who have been in Brazil, China, the European Schengen Area, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, India and the United Kingdom in the past 14 days will be denied entry.
Travelers from all other countries must undergo a 10-day quarantine. Check the Safe Travels Hawai’i site for details as the situation evolves.
All tourists must also complete a Safe Travels Hawaii form, and many will need to undergo a health screening on arrival. A couple of islands also require a second Covid-19 test upon arrival.
What are the restrictions?
Hawaii’s travel restrictions change often.
Currently, all travelers must either undergo a 10-day quarantine or — if traveling from a handful of countries (listed above) — avoid quarantine by presenting a negative test from a “trusted partner,” a list of which can be found on the Hawaii Covid-19 website.
For air travelers age 5 and over entering Hawaii from abroad, getting a test from one of Hawaii’s approved Trusted Testing Partners will be particularly important because some tests accepted under the US testing entry requirement that went into effect in January would not allow travelers to bypass Hawaii’s quarantine.
Travelers, including those arriving from the US mainland, must have a negative test result before departing on the last leg of their trip to Hawaii. Test results must be uploaded to the Safe Travels Hawaii site before your flight to the islands or printed out prior to departure with the hard copy ready to present upon arrival. Otherwise, you will incur the 10-day quarantine.
Maui and Hawaii Island currently require a second post-arrival test for trans-Pacific travelers.
Registration with Safe Travels Hawaii as soon as flights are booked is mandatory for all travelers older than 18.
Fully vaccinated Hawaii residents traveling between counties may bypass pre-travel testing and quarantine starting May 11 with CDC proof of vaccination cards.
What’s the Covid situation?
With only about 35,700 cases and 494 deaths reported as of May 21, Hawaii has seen relatively low Covid numbers compared with other US states. Strict lockdown measures were put in place in March 2020 to ensure that the islands were not overwhelmed.
What can visitors expect?
Restrictions vary by island, although there is a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces and outdoors where social distancing can’t be maintained, which Hawaii Gov. David Ige said would remain in effect despite updated CDC mask guidance.
Oahu has implemented a four-tier system of restrictions. Oahu is set to remain in Tier 3 through early June, according to a recent announcement from Mayor Rick Blangiardi. (Tier 4 is the least restrictive).
This means social gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed. Groups of 10 people are allowed in restaurants regardless of household or living unit. Groups are also limited to 10 people at beaches.
Maui, Molokai and Lanai — all in Maui County — allow for gatherings of up to five people. Beaches and Maui County Parks are open.
On Hawaii Island, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted as long as masks are worn and social distancing rules followed. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Beaches are open.
Elevated Covid-19 case counts prompted Kauai to move back from Tier 4 to Tier 3 on May 6, where it remained on May 21. The move reduced the indoor social gathering limit to five while allowing groups of 25 outdoors. Restaurants and bars are open but limited to 50% capacity indoors. Beaches are open.
Our recent coverage
What’s it like traveling to Hawaii during the pandemic? CNN’s Brekke Fletcher wrote about her experience here.