Tourists are returning to Hawaii as restrictions ease across the state © Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock
Tourists are returning to Hawaii as restrictions ease across the state © Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock

Hawaii is making it easier for vaccinated US tourists to visit

TripFalcon June 25, 2021

Last Update: 2021-06-25 11:16:42

Hawaii is scrapping testing and quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated tourists from the US mainland from July 8, Hawaii's governor David Ige announced on Thursday.

It comes as Hawaii prepares for a wider reopening of society to bring visitors back to its beaches, coral reefs and national parks in time for summer. If you're planning a vacation to the Aloha State soon, here's what you need to know about the islands' rules on reopening, and the requirements to get in.

I'm vaccinated, can I travel to Hawaii?

Yes, you can if you're a US citizen or permanent resident traveling from a US state or territory. You must upload your CDC-issued vaccination record card to Hawaii's Safe Travels Program website and have that card with you upon arrival in Hawaii. You must be fully vaccinated—meaning it has been two weeks from your final jab.

What if I'm not vaccinated?

Hawaii is currently closed to much of the world, but non-vaccinated domestic tourists and tourists from approved destinations including Japan, Canada, South Korea, and Taiwan are permitted to travel to Hawaii—provided they participate in the state's pre-testing program.

Hawaii reduced its mandatory hotel quarantine from 14 to 10 days back in December. Visitors aged five-years and older from the US and the approved destinations can bypass quarantine if they present a negative PCR result from a test taken from an approved provider, no more than 72 hours before departure.

Hawaii's beaches are open to visitors © arkanto / Shutterstock
Hawaii's beaches are open to visitors © arkanto / Shutterstock

Travelers must also register their trip details online through Hawaii's Safe Travels program and upload their test results before boarding their flight. At present, travelers flying domestically within the US to Hawaii are not required the get a test before returning to the mainland US—something required by the CDC when returning from international travel. 

Travelers arriving at any of the islands' airports may be chosen at random to take a second test but this will be free of charge and you won't have to wait long to get your results.

When a state-wide vaccinated target of 70% is reached (Hawaii is expected to reach 60% at the start of July) travel restrictions will be scrapped. "The Safe Travels program will end and we will invite everyone to be able to travel to our islands," Gov Ige. said.

Hawaii is launching a system to help vaccinated travelers skip pre-travel testing © Maridav/Shutterstock
Hawaii is launching a system to help vaccinated travelers skip pre-travel testing © Maridav/Shutterstock

What COVID restrictions are still in place?

Hawaii expects to reach a 60% vaccination rate on July 8, which is why travel restrictions are being eased. That also means that social gatherings will be expanded to 25 people indoors, and 75 outdoors. Restaurants are permitted to increase capacity to 75%

"We anticipate that on or about July 8, Hawaii will have achieved a 60% vaccination rate. Our residents have sacrificed and worked hard to get to this point, but we still have more to do. Please get vaccinated to protect yourselves and your loved ones. We are close to achieving a 70% vaccination rate, at which point all restrictions will end and we can return to the lives we remember," said Gov. Ige in a statement.

Hawaii dropped its mask mandate for people outdoors on May 25, though large groups should still wear masks outside, and they are required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people indoors.

Across the state, life is gradually returning to its pre-pandemic days. People can meet with friends, visit museums and enjoy Hawaii's great outdoors again. Non-essential shops and movie theaters are open at 100% capacity in Oahu and 50% everywhere else. Museums, cultural attractions and zoos are open at 50% capacity for indoor areas. Hotels, B&Bs and guest houses are open across the state with some COVID-19 guidelines in place.

Hawaii's national parks are taking a phased approach to reopening ©Mavrick/Shutterstock
Hawaii's national parks are taking a phased approach to reopening ©Mavrick/Shutterstock

Beaches are open with some restrictions, while hiking trails are open with group limits set at five people on Maui, 10 on Oahu, and up to 25 people on the Big Island and Kauai. Social distancing guidelines are in place on trails and visitors must wear masks.

National parks are gradually opening, though not all services and facilities are up and running. Check ahead before planning a visit to see the latest rules.

What can travelers look forward to?

Those who get to travel to Hawaii will find picture-perfect beaches, crystal waterfall pools and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. It is perhaps unsurprising it's consistently found at the top of the annual happiest states survey. Life is Hawaii is pretty much lived outdoors and encounters with nature are infused with the traditional Hawaiian value of aloha ʻaina – love and respect for the land.

Mindful travel is a big focus with Hawaii this year as it welcomes tourists back with tourism partners and volunteer organizations across the state coming together with an initiative called Malama Hawaii, which encourages visitors to give back to the destination. In some cases, volunteers receive a free extra night from participating hotels for volunteering.

Source: lonelyplanet