It's deja vu all over again. Hawaii, which has been battling a Covid-19 surge all summer, is effectively shut down to tourists until at least October 1.
On July 13, Governor David Ige had announced a workaround for the state's mandatory (and strictly enforced) 14-day quarantine for all visitors and residents. Hawaii's Pre-Testing Program allowed travelers to enter the state freely if they had a negative Covid-19 test, taken no more than 72 hours in advance of travel.
The move was a hopeful one, driven by the need to restart Hawaii's decimated tourism economy. Unfortunately, the continued surge in coronavirus cases across the country and within the state has delayed the implementation of the program three times: Target dates were August 1, September 1 and now, October 1.
According to an August 18 press release from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, "All individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving from out-of-state to Hawaii are still subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. The start of the state's Pre-Travel Testing Program has been delayed to October 1, at the earliest."
During a press conference on August 18, Governor Ige said, "I have been working with mayors of all the counties to identify ways we can bring travelers back more quickly," including "geo-fencing" at hotels -- where the properties would take responsibility for quarantining arrving guests, as well as "travel bubbles" with trans-Pacific countries such as Japan and Australia. There is no specific plan in place, however, to implement either.
Some inter-island travel is also subject to restrictions -- those traveling to Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island are subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine.