Today is the day, March 26th, the day Hawaii drops Covid mandates. What exactly does this mean?
Two years ago the State of Hawaii implemented some of the strictest Covid mandates in the US. Anyone arriving in the State had to quarantine for two weeks. There was no get out of jail free card. Tourism and travel in general essentially stopped. Airlines continued flying token flights to maintain their airport slots, but those flights were quite empty. In October 2020 the State allowed for a pre-travel test option (Safe Travels program) to avoid the mandatory quarantine, in 2021 they implemented a vaccine exemption. Most recently the quarantine period was five days.
What is new March 26th?
Effective March 26, 2022 the State of Hawaii’s Safe Travels program has been cancelled. The Safe Travels program was a way for travelers to circumvent the mandatory 5 day quarantine once arrived on island. Travelers had to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test from a ‘trusted testing partner’ prior to arrival.
As of November 2021 the State aligned its rules for international travel with those of the federal government, meaning international travelers just had to worry about CDC rules (proof of vaccination plus pre-travel Covid test taken one day prior to travel). These international travel rules are still in effect.
‘Hawaii drops Covid mandates’ means anyone arriving from within the US no longer has to show proof of vaccination, negative Covid test, nor log into the Safe Travels website to notify the State of arrival information. Essentially, things return to ‘normal’ for domestic travelers.
The end of the Mask Mandate
Effective March 26th Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate has also come to an end. That being said, individual businesses can still choose to enforce mask wearing at their discretion. And, since airports and airlines are subject to federal rules, you do still need to wear masks there.
What if we get another Covid surge?
This is anyone’s guess. It is entirely possible that the State will reinstate a Covid mandate. To date Hawaii has dealt with Covid more conservatively than other parts of the country, and so it is plausible that this may happen.
As you travel, please consider the following:
- Covid rules may change
- You may get Covid on island (yes, you still need to quarantine, and no per Maui County rules you may not quarantine in a vacation rental, so come up with a plan – see FAQ section of our website)
- We strongly recommend you purchase a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) trip insurance policy to protect your vacation investment.
Hawaii is renowned for its Spirit of Aloha. However, Aloha goes both ways. Should you get sick in Hawaii, please show residents and visitors alike your aloha. One of the reasons Hawaii has been so careful with its Covid policies is our limited hospital space. If you feel sick, please take precautions so not to spread it to others. Isolate and get tested.