Unlocking the World

Travel to Hawaii during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN staffUpdated 28th November 2021
Hawaii is like nowhere else in the United States
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on November 27.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Hawaii, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest news

Hawaii has aligned its entry policy for international travelers with the new federal policy for air travelers that went effect on November 8, requiring international arrivals to be fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test result.
And Hawaii has been "safely open to vaccinated residents and visitors who are traveling domestically and between islands for business or pleasure" since November 1, according to a news release from Gov. David Ige.

The basics

In addition to the new requirements for international arrivals, Hawaii has ended its pre-travel testing and quarantine requirement for domestic travelers if they've been fully vaccinated for Covid-19 in the United States.
US visitors who aren't fully vaccinated still must provide a negative Covid-19 test result from one of the state's Trusted Travel Partners taken within three days of their flight's departure for Hawaii to enter the state and bypass a mandatory 10-day quarantine.

What's on offer

Spectacular surfing, sandy beaches, traditional Pacific culture and rugged volcanoes await Hawaii visitors. Hawaii's geographical position and proud history make it unlike anywhere else in the United States.

Who can go

Fully vaccinated travelers (with negative Covid-19 test results) from any nation are now allowed entry into the United States, including Hawaii.
But starting Monday, November 29, the United States will restrict flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe because of the emerging Omicron variant.
Unvaccinated travelers from abroad will no longer be allowed, with very limited exceptions. Among those exceptions are unvaccinated children who are 17 and younger.
Americans are still allowed to travel to Hawaii, regardless of vaccination status.

What are the restrictions?

As mentioned above, being fully vaccinated is the key requirement for international travelers 18 and older, as well as tests taken within three days of departing for Hawaii for all travelers 2 and older.
Unvaccinated US travelers flying domestically must take a test within three days of departure to bypass a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
Unvaccinated US citizens flying directly to Hawaii from an international destination would have to take a test within one day of departing for Hawaii, in accordance with federal rules.
Participation in the state's Safe Travels Hawaii program remains a requirement for domestic travelers.
All restrictions on intercounty travel have been lifted, meaning no pre-travel testing or quarantining is needed for travel between the Hawaiian islands.

What's the Covid situation?

With roughly 87,000 cases and 1,000 deaths reported as of November 27, Hawaii has seen relatively low Covid numbers compared with other US states. It maintained some of the strictest travel measures of any state.
Hawaii began easing restrictions earlier this year, but the spread of the Delta variant over the summer spurred the state to once again tighten up on gathering sizes. Those have been recently loosened again.

What can visitors expect?

On December 1, statewide limits on social gatherings, restaurants, bars, gyms and other social establishments will be lifted. Going forward, counties may impose their own limits.
Currently, capacity is set at 50% statewide for all indoor high-risk activities, including dining in restaurants, unless a county implements a vaccination or test requirement for entry. With such a requirement, there is no capacity limit.
The statewide indoor mask mandate will remain in effect after December 1.
On the island of Oahu, Safe Access O'ahu will ease some of its restrictions on December 1 as well.
A current vaccination (or negative Covid-19 test) requirement for patrons and employees (ages 12 and up) of restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums, arcades and other types of establishments will be curtailed to apply only to indoor fitness facilities and any indoor or outdoor establishment where food or beverages are served.
Businesses and events in Oahu will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity when the new rules go into effect.
Maui currently has an indoor vaccine requirement for people 12 and older. Maui County will soon ease some of its restrictions as well, Mayor Michael Victorino said in a statement.
Hawaii also has a statewide Malama Hawaii initiative that encourages visitors to give back to the destination.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

Find out about the woman who gave birth to a baby while flying to Hawaii -- she didn't even know she was pregnant!
What's it like traveling to Hawaii during the pandemic? Read about a recent experience here.
For vacation tips, have a look here. If you're a closet beach hater, here are some ideas of what you can do. Or have a look at the cats of Lana'i, where 600 of them are living their best life.