News

Kaua‘i Seeks to Lift Interisland Travel Quarantine

December 30, 2020, 3:59 PM HST
Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio...
A
A
A

Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami is ready to allow travelers into the island with no quarantine pending a negative COVID-19 test, though only those traveling interisland.

Kawakami sent Gov. David Ige a proposed amendment to the Mayor’s Emergency Rule 23, which would rescind the county’s moratorium on the Safe Travels program for interisland travel.

If approved, interisland travelers would once again be allowed to participate in the state’s Safe Travels program and be exempt from the 10-day travel quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken less than 72 hours before inter-island travel. The test would need to be administered by one of the state’s Trusted Testing and Travel Partners and test results uploaded to the state’s Safe Travels program before departure, as required.

Amended Rule 23 would require that a person be physically present in Hawai‘i for more than 72 hours before flying to Kaua‘i in order to qualify as an inter-island traveler. This means that travelers who arrive from out of state would not be eligible to participate in the Safe Travels program to Kaua‘i until they have been in Hawai‘i for more than three days.

The proposed amendment is set to take effect on Jan. 5, the same day as Rule 24, which establishes a post-travel testing program with a shorter quarantine for travelers who wish to stay in an approved Enhanced Movement Quarantine (EMQ) property, or “resort bubble.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

“We realize the Resort Bubble program is tailored to visitors and is not ideal for our residents,” Kawakami said. “Our residents continue to be our highest priority. Now that our community has been able to enjoy the holiday season without a major surge in cases, we feel we are in a good position to loosen interisland travel restrictions and offer more convenient opportunities to travel between islands.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

It is not yet known when Kaua‘i’s moratorium on the Safe Travels program will end for transpacific travelers.

“The rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths on the mainland continues to increase, with the number of cases this month nearly double the rate in November,” said Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i District Health Officer. “Unfortunately, it is just not safe at this time to allow transpacific travel to Kaua‘i without additional safeguards — we hope that will change soon.”

“While O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island continue to have cases, the rate of infection is significantly lower than the mainland,” she continued. “With our low rates of disease and frontline healthcare workers and first responders beginning to be vaccinated, this is an appropriate time to allow interisland travel with a pre-travel test, while continuing to require additional precautions for people who recently traveled out of state.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

It is not mandatory for travelers to participate in the Safe Travels program or the EMQ program. Those who choose not to participate in either program will be subject to the mandatory 10-day travel quarantine.

The county continues its modified quarantine program for critical infrastructure employees and those who must travel for medical needs. To apply for a modified quarantine or more information about travel to Kaua‘i and the Emergency Rules, visit http://www.kauai.gov/COVID-19.

For more information on the state’s Safe Travels Program, or to view the list of Trusted Testing and Travel partners, visit hawaiicovid19.com/travel.

Comments

This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments

Newsletters

Get a quick summary of what’s happening on the Big Island with our daily & weekly email of news highlights.