Updated: Apr 17, 2021
Keeping up with the ever-changing entry requirements for Hawaii hasn’t been easy during the pandemic. But that hasn’t deterred throngs of tourists from forging ahead with travel plans, especially to the island of Maui.
Travelers to Hawaii already need to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter without facing a mandatory 10-day self-quarantine, but now, as TPG’s Summer Hull has reported, Maui is taking a page from the big island’s playbook and adding an additional layer of testing. Travelers to Maui will soon be required to take a second COVID-19 test upon arrival, according to new public health guidelines.
Maui mayor Michael Victorino said the new rules were supposed to go into effect on April 9, according to Maui Now, but the requirement may not actually be official until the end of April, pending the implementation of the required systems and personnel. While entry requirements for Maui (and beyond) continue to be a work in progress, here’s what we know right now, and what changes may be on the way.
What you need to know if you’re traveling to Maui
In addition to following Hawaii’s strict entry test requirements (more on that below), completing the Safe Travels online application, and downloading the AlohaSafe Alert app, Maui will soon require a second COVID-19 test upon arrival.
“Beginning mid to late April, trans-Pacific travelers who arrive with a negative COVID-19 test result may also be required to take a second COVID-19 test, which would be administered and paid for by Maui County,” according to Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau Senior Director Jeffrey Eslinger.
Travelers will not have to pay out-of-pocket costs for the additional COVID-19 testing. Children under the age of 5 who are traveling with a parent or guardian who has tested negative for COVID-19 are exempt from quarantine and post-arrival testing.
Maui Now reports that the second test is “designed to determine if visitors and returning residents are contributing to an uptick in cases,” per Mayor Victorino. This comes on the heels of a rise in COVID-19 cases in Maui.
In addition to the processes outlined above, masks are required throughout Maui, with exceptions including when outdoors and physical distancing of six (6) feet from other individuals (who are not members of the same household/living unit/residence) can be maintained. Occupancy is limited to 30 percent of a facility’s maximum occupant load, and bars and restaurants have a 10 pm curfew.
What you need to know about traveling to Hawaii right now
As of October 2020, Hawaii’s Safe Travels program allows travelers to avoid a 10-day quarantine by uploaded an approved COVID-19 negative test result by a Trusted
Testing and Travel Partner taken no more than 72 hours before taking off on your flight to Hawaii prior to departure. The test must be an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), performed using a nasal swab, with results from a CLIA-certified laboratory. Violators face a $5,000 fine, jail time of up to one year, or both.
As with Maui, many islands have additional entry requirements or requirements that have recently changed, so be sure to check before booking. As of April 5, Kauai has rejoined the Safe Travels program. The county of Kauai’s website states that “Visitors and residents traveling to Kauai are subject to a 10-day quarantine unless granted an exemption through the State of Hawaii Safe Travels program with an approved negative pre-travel test, or by participating in the Kauai Resort Bubble program.”
The good news is that Hawaiian lawmakers are discussing a bill that would standardize testing requirements across all islands.
In addition to Hawaii’s strict testing policy, all travelers must register with the state’s Safe Travels program. Everyone is required to wear a mask when inside businesses and requested to wear a mask at all times in public spaces such as sidewalks, museums, attractions, parks and even the beach when physical distancing isn’t possible.
As TPG’s Richard Kerr reported on April 10, Gov. Ige has laid the foundation for vaccinated travelers to have the opportunity to avoid the mandatory 10-day quarantine (and thus also avoiding the rigorous testing process). We will keep you posted as updates are available.
Traveling to Maui right now is possible if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops. That said, for many Americans, it remains the best vacation option while awaiting more international destinations to open their borders. Be sure to do your research ahead of time and know what is required for entry.