Kauai Is Reopening to Tourists With the Toughest Covid Screening in Hawaii

By Alison Fox

Jan 9, 2021

THE HAWAIIAN ISLAND OF KAUAI is reopen to tourists with a more rigorous screening program than anywhere else in the state.

The popular island, nicknamed the “Garden Isle” and known for its extensive vegetation, gorgeous beaches, and challenging hikes, will now allow travelers to avoid quarantine if they test negative within 72 hours of traveling to Kauai, stay at an approved “resort bubble” property, and test negative for a second time more than 72 hours after arriving, Hawaii’s Gov. David Ige recently confirmed. The new island-specific testing protocols went into effect on Tuesday.

“This proposal will allow Kauaʻi to move forward with limited tourism in ‘resort bubbles’ while honoring the county’s request to opt-out of the Safe Travels pre-travel testing program,” Ige said in a statement.

The new rules come after the island, Hawaii’s northernmost, temporarily opted out of the rest of the state’s Safe Travels program on Dec. 2 due to increasing COVID-19 cases and community spread and instead required a 14-day quarantine. Visitors who choose to stay in a hotel not on the approved list (there are currently six) will be subject to a 10-day quarantine.

“Travelers who participate in this program will be able to enjoy resort amenities and visit the pool for the first three days of their vacations until they are eligible to take their post-travel test,” Kauai’s Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a statement. “Once the post-travel test shows they are COVID-free, they can enjoy all that Kaua’i has to offer.”

Travelers who stay at an approved property will be required to wear tracking bracelets, The Associated Press reported.

Currently, Kauai is reporting a 0.8% test positivity rate, according to the State of Hawaii Department of Health. Statewide, as of Jan. 3, Hawaii has seen a 3.5% test positivity rate over a seven day rolling average.

For other Hawaiian islands, the statewide testing program was launched in October and allows visitors to skip the mandatory quarantine if they test negative for the virus within 72 hours before arriving.

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