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Facing quarantine or cancellation for a Hawaii trip? Here's what you need to know

March 23, 2020
5 min read
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On Saturday, the governor of Hawaii ordered a mandatory 14-day self-isolation quarantine for all travelers entering the Aloha State. The mandate goes into effect on Thursday, March 26, 2020, and will remain in place indefinitely.

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“With the majority of Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases linked to travel, it is critical that we further mitigate the spread of the virus by both residents and visitors who are coming from out-of-state,” Governor David Y. Ige stated in his announcement. "These actions are extreme, but they will help flatten the curve and lay the groundwork for a quicker recovery. We need everyone to comply with these quarantine orders to help protect Hawaiʻi’s residents."

Here's What you need to know about traveling to Hawaii right now

When does the mandate go into effect?

The mandate takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, March 26.

Am I exempt from the quarantine?

No. All visitors and state residents arriving through Hawaii’s airports must quarantine themselves for 14 days. Failure to comply will be considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both.

What do I do once I land in Hawaii?

You'll receive a form on board your flight which must be filled out before you leave the airport. A checkpoint official will check your ID and the form, then issue a document certifying that you cleared the checkpoint. After that, your mandatory 14-day self-quarantine goes into effect immediately.

  • You must go directly from the airport to your designated quarantine location and stay there for 14 consecutive days or for the duration of your stay in Hawaii, whichever is shorter.
  • If you live in Hawaii, you must stay in your home.
  • If you are visiting Hawaii, your designated quarantine location is your hotel room or Airbnb.
  • You can only leave your designated quarantine location for medical emergencies or to seek medical care.
  • You cannot visit any public spaces, including pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers or restaurants.
  • You cannot have visitors in or out of your designated quarantine location other than a physician, healthcare provider or another individual authorized to enter the designated quarantine location by the Director of HIEMA.
  • You must comply with any and all rules or protocols related to your quarantine that are set by your hotel or Airbnb.

The quarantine restrictions include further guidance if you develop a fever or a cough.

Yikes. Should I still go to Hawaii?

If this sounds like a bad time to visit Hawaii, you're right. It is. Don't go. Not only are you at risk of getting sick and making others sick for weeks to come, you'll also have to spend a lot of time admiring the inside of your hotel room. You can't hang out by the swim-up bar, dine al fresco by the beach at sunset or participate in a single excursion for those two weeks. If you're going on vacation, now is absolutely not the time to even consider traveling.

Should I postpone or should I cancel?

Should you postpone or should you cancel your trip? That's a slightly harder question to answer. If you have a lot of flexibility in your schedule, you can push your travel dates back by a few months instead of canceling outright. But don't plan on things returning to normal by early May; aim for fall at the earliest, just to be responsible. (And be emotionally prepared to push back your trip again, just in case.) We are all responsible for helping to flatten the curve of this pandemic as much as we can, and vacation travel is absolutely out of the question.

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If you decide to cancel, most travel insurance doesn't offer protection at this time for pandemic-related cancellations. However, many airlines and hotels are offering full refunds for cancellations, or credit for future travel. If you're waiting on the airlines to cancel your flight so you don't have to accept a flight credit or voucher, that's your prerogative. But you can always try negotiating your refund directly.

Try to leave customer service phone lines open for urgent needs unless you're traveling within 72 hours. Otherwise, consider these tricks to quickly get through to someone who can help.

Bottom line

The breathtaking scenery of Hawaii will still be there when this outbreak is over. As Hawaii's Governor Ige said, staying home right now and minimizing our overlap with others will lay the groundwork for a quicker recovery.

Featured image by hawaii oahu haiku stairs (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/ The Points Guy)

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