Hawaii remains under a mandatory 14-day quarantine, but a new rule will allow visitors to move about their resorts in Kauai — with every moment being tracked.

By Rachel Chang
September 16, 2020
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An island resort getaway to Kauai may soon be possible — as long as you’re willing to wear a tracking bracelet and stay within designated zones during Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The County of Kauai became the first county in the state to get approval on implementing the Resort Bubble program, also called Enhanced Movement Quarantine, when Hawaii Governor David Ige signed Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami’s Emergency Rule 16, announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The program will allow travelers to leave their hotel rooms while they’re under quarantine, in order to use approved resort facilities, but they must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet so that the property can track their movements within the established areas. This will allow visitors to use the resort’s pools and restaurants, as long as they still abide by physical distancing and mask-wearing protocols.

“We understand the need to address the economic hardship facing our tourism-based community, while also preserving the safety of our residents,” Kawakami said in the release. “The Resort Bubble program is an added tool to reopening our economy while we learn to coexist with this virus. It’s not a replacement or the final solution, and we will continue to keep our community updated as we make progress.”

The concept is voluntary for resorts and visitors, but travelers who violate the restrictions — by tampering with the unit, leaving the property, or violating the rules in any other way — could be convicted and face up to a year in prison, up to a $5,000 fine, or both.

Currently, several resorts have shown interest in launching the program, but no specific dates have been announced.

On Monday, Kawakami said in a video statement that there had been 58 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Kauai and that five people were currently in quarantine because of their contact with an Oahu case.

Also in the video, which was released before Ige signed the rule into effect, the mayor described the bracelets as looking ”similar to a smartwatch” and explained the geofencing technology, noting that if rules are violated, the bracelet would alert hotel security, who would then contact the local police.

Despite these measures, Kawakami also added, “We continue to recommend that you not travel unless absolutely necessary,” and reminded travelers that they’ll need to fill out the “Safe Travels” form, in addition to a Kauai-specific form.