Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Big Changes Coming to Social Restrictions, International Travel to Hawai´i

By Max Dible
November 2, 2021, 2:21 PM HST
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Hawai´i is rolling back more COVID restrictions on both social gatherings and international travel throughout the first half of November.

Gov. David Ige on Tuesday, Nov. 2 announced that he has signed an executive order removing several social restrictions on outdoor areas at bars, restaurants and social establishments. While indoors, patrons must remain seated with their parties and maintain six feet of social distancing from other groups, wearing masks except when eating or drinking and avoiding all mingling. None of those restrictions will apply to outdoor settings at the same locales beginning Nov. 12.

Indoor settings must remain operational at 50% capacity unless the individual County of note implements a policy requiring vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of entry. Under those circumstances, the establishments in question may operate as close to 100% capacity as indoor social distancing requirements will allow.

Four days before those changes go into effect, on Monday, Nov. 8, the Hawaiʻi will welcome back international travelers under new federal requirements, which will create some breaks from the protocols set forth in the state’s Safe Travels Program. The new guidelines are as follows:

Direct International Travel to Hawaiʻi

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NON-US citizens traveling directly to Hawaiʻi from an international destination must present both a vaccination record and a negative COVID-19 test result (NAAT or antigen) within three days of boarding a flight to the United States.

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US citizens flying directly to Hawaiʻi from an international destination have two options:

  • Provide proof of vaccination
  • Provide proof of negative COVID-19 test result within one day of boarding flight to US

There will be no additional Hawaiʻi requirements for passengers flying directly into the state from an international destination. The airlines will screen passengers prior to their departure to the US. If foreign passengers fail to meet both requirements, and if US citizens fail to meet one of the two requirements, they will not be allowed to board the flight. Once in Hawaiʻi, the CDC will conduct compliance checks.

Note: Tests do not have to be done with Trusted Travel Partners under the new international federal requirements, but they must be done with a Trusted Travel Partner for unvaccinated domestic travel.

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Non-Direct International Travel to Hawaiʻi

International passengers entering the US from another state or territory will be treated as domestic travelers when entering the Hawaiʻi. The Safe Travels Program remains in place for domestic travelers. Current requirements for domestic travelers include:

  • Creating a Safe Travels Hawaiʻi account on a digital device
  • Entering trip details
  • Filling out a health form
  • Attesting that all information is correct

Currently, travelers may bypass the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine in one of two ways:

  • Upload a vaccination document
  • Upload a negative NAAT test result (The test must be taken by a Trusted Travel Partner (TTP) within three days of departure for Hawaiʻi)

Also, beginning on Nov. 8, the state, in alignment with the federal government, will accept vaccines approved or authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration, and vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization. A list of currently accepted vaccines is posted on the CDC’s website.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations.
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