How Has COVID-19 Impacted the State of Hawaii?
Preparing For Your Trip To Hawaii
As vacation and travel season draws near, many visitors are wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their ability to travel to Hawaii, or what they will be able to do once they arrive. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled some of the most relevant policy information for vacation travelers.
Firstly, the travel question. While you will be able to find flights to and from Hawaii, and probably at low fares, all arriving passengers will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. After quarantine, visitors would still be subject to the same stay-at-home order that currently applies to all local residents, at least through April 30th.
The stay-at-home order does allow for essential businesses to be open. You can still shop at grocery stores, get take-out or delivery from local restaurants, call upon emergency services, and take public transportations or use ride sharing apps. You can find a full list of essential services here.
The most restrictive area of daily life is certainly recreation. Boutiques, shopping centers, and our most famous malls have all been closed. And while Hawaii’s natural beauty is ever present, we are mostly seeing it through the windows. City and state parks and beaches are closed across the islands. Essential activities, including ocean activities and walking or running on the beach, are still permitted, but laying out on the beach to enjoy the warmth of the sun would be in violation of the public health orders. Additionally, recreational gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited.
At this point in Hawaii, most of the COVID 19 cases are associated with travel. Most visitors are choosing to postpone their plans to vacation here, and while we do hope to welcome tourists again soon, we appreciate the kokua (cooperation) to keep our island community healthy and safe.
Hawaii’s position in the tourism industry being a major travel destination has prompted state and public health officials to expand its efforts in mitigating the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Below is a summary of guidelines and restrictions set forth by the Governor of Hawaii and Hawaii’s State Department of Health as of March 30th in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Please see below for the following.
What You Need to Know
On March 23rd Governor David Ige issued a statewide stay at home order starting at 12:01am on March 25ththat’s in effect until 11:59pm on April 30th. All persons within the state of Hawaii have been ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence which includes hotels, condominiums, townhouses, apartments, and multi-dwelling units. Those with shared outdoor spaces must comply with the social distancing requirements to stay six feet apart from other individuals.
Individuals may leave their homes or place of residence for essential activities and to engage in essential businesses and operations. Persons may travel to and from essential businesses and operations if they are not in the position to work remotely from home or places of residence.
Hawaii Tourism Authority includes the following list of essential businesses and operations. Click here for more details
- Healthcare services and facilities
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine
- Food, beverage, cannabis production, and agriculture
- Educational Institutions
- Organizations that provide charitable and social services
- Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
- Financial institutes
- Hardware and supply stores
- Critical trades
- Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
- Laundry services
- Restaurants for consumption off-premises. Food is provided through pick-up, delivery, and takeaway only.
- Supplies to work from home
- Supplies for essential businesses and operations
- Home-based care and services
- Residential facilities and shelters
- Professional services
- Childcare services for employees exempted by this Order
- Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
- Critical labor union functions
- Hotels and motels
- Funeral services
- Government functions
Hawaii Tourism Authority includes the following list of essential activities permitted outside the home or place of residence. Click here for more details
- Travel for health and safety
- Travel to engage in, receive or obtain goods or services from the essential businesses or operations
- Travel to engage in minimum basic operations of non-essential businesses, including the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, and related functions as well as the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences
- Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other high-risk persons
- Travel from a person’s home or place of residence to the nearest airport or other facility for departure from the State
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
- Outdoor exercise activities, including ocean activities such as surfing and swimming, so long as social distancing requirements are maintained
- Walking pets on a leash
All persons engaged in permitted activities and Essential businesses and operations must follow the social distancing requirements.
Hawaii Tourism Authority includes the following list of social distancing requirements. Click here for more details
- Six-foot distancing to maintain appropriate distancing
- Separate operating hours for high risk populations
- Online and remote access
Any persons who knowingly or intentionally violates the restrictions put forth, listed above, will be guilty of a misdemeanor could be faced with a fine up to $5,000, or imprisoned up to one year, or both.
The state is following the CDC guidelines limiting social gatherings up to 10 people. All bars, clubs, theaters, entertainment centers, and attractions are closed.
Hawaii Tourism Authority states on March 26th starting at 12:01am that’s in effect until 12:01am on May 20th all individuals, that includes residents and visitors, who are returning or arriving to the State of Hawaii will have a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. This applies to individuals coming from the US, interisland, and international destinations. Residences designated quarantine location will be their residence and visitors quarantine location will be their hotel room or rented lodging. Those returning to the state will only be allowed to leave their 14-day quarantine for medical emergencies or to pursue medical care. Click here for more details.
These restrictions come after the majority of COVID-19 cases linked to travel outside the state, another attempt from Hawaii to flatten the curve.
All visiting persons arriving through Hawaii’s airports in addition to filling out a standard Hawaii Departure Agriculture form. Visitors will also be cleared through a checkpoint in which visitors will be advised on the 14-day self-quarantine requirement and penalties if found in violation of the regulations set forth by the state. If you have a planned trip, please consult your travel provider regarding what your options are. If you are visitor currently in Hawaii, please adjust your travel and vacation plans accordingly.
The Mayor’s office of the County of Kauai has in addition implemented a mandatory curfew on March 20th in effect until further notice from 9:00pm to 5:00am. Click here for more details.
Hawaii.com has stated that the City and County of Honolulu has also closed all city facilities including parks, golf and tennis courses, and the Honolulu zoo until April 30th. It is important to note lifeguards will not be on active duty on the beaches at this time. Click here for more details.
Aloha United Way’s 211 Helpline
Hawaii’s State Department of Health has teamed up with Aloha United Way to serve as the primary community hot line for information on COVID-19 and a call-to-action referral service to help those in need of resources. Click Here for more details.
- Public call center hours 7:00am – 10:00pm 7 days a week
- Call 2-1-1 from any location in the state
- Text 877-275-6569
- Email email@example.com
- Visit hawaii.gov/covid19or coronavirus.gov
How to Protect Yourself
Hawaii’s Department of Health is encouraging all individuals to follow these steps along with practicing social distancing to help prevent the spreading of COVID-19. Please see below for the following. Click here for more details.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people are sick
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Click here for EPA approved products effective against COVID-19
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from illnesses, including COVID-19. Keep in mind that supplies are limited, and we need to make sure there are enough masks for our front-line health care workers. If you are sick, then wear a mask to protect the people around you
- Sign up for public notifications at https://health.hawaii.gov/news/covid-19-updates/