The island is now implementing a testing and 'resort bubble' program.

By Alison Fox
January 06, 2021
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The Hawaiian island of Kauai will look to reopen to tourists more than a month after it opted out of the state's travel testing program.

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 with a pre-travel test 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 temporarily opted out 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.

Kauai in 2019
| Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

"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 before arriving.

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.