Hawaii Extends COVID-19 Protocols — What to Know If You're Heading to the Aloha State

The order is in effect until Nov. 30.

A plane flies into Lihue airport on Kauai.
Photo: Matthew Micah Wright/Getty Images

Hawaii's Gov. David Ige has extended the state's emergency order, continuing capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gatherings, and continuing to require people to wear masks indoors.

The order, in effect through at least Nov. 30, does not change the state's Safe Travels program, which allows domestic tourists to skip quarantine by showing proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test from a "trusted partner" site.

A sign notifies visitors that sitting is not permitted on a beach at the Whalers Village in Kaanapali, Maui County, Hawaii, U.S.
Mia Shimabuku/Getty Images

Ige, who had previously asked visitors to cut back on trips to Hawaii, said the number of new cases has been trending downward, "however COVID continues to cause high rates of infection throughout our state."

"I am aware that my request to visitors to delay travel to the islands had some impact in the number of visitors that we saw. I did believe that it was very important that we slow down the number of visitors that were coming to the islands at that point in time," Ige said during a news conference. "I do think it was helpful in order to help us get through this delta surge. And certainly with the trend in the right direction with the number of infections falling… we will be considering getting to a point where we will be inviting visitors back to the islands."

The state first re-imposed capacity restrictions in August, reducing indoor activities to 50%, including in restaurants and bars.

In Hawaii, 76.6% of people have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 68.2% are fully vaccinated, according to Hawaii's COVID-19 website. The state is seeing a 3.5% test positivity rate on a weekly basis, which is much lower than the end of the summer.

Initially, Ige intended to lift all travel restrictions and officially end its Safe Travels program when the state hit a 70% vaccination rate, but Ige said that has changed.

"We felt that we would be able to reach a 70% vaccination rate and we would be able to lift the emergency proclamation and really get back to life as normal," Ige said. "As we all have seen, delta has changed that equation."

Going forward, he said he would consider things like hospital capacity, but there wasn't one "simple metric."

"We want to ensure that travelers are vaccinated, that they are respectful of our requirements here," he said. "And certainly we would be looking at messaging the notion that Hawaii continues to and would welcome visitors at the appropriate time."

When people do go to Hawaii traveling responsibly is key, including planning culturally enriching experiences and heeding posted signs and local alerts and laws.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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