Like many destinations around the world, Hawaii’s travel rules are always changing as COVID conditions fluctuate in the Aloha State. After a holiday surge that saw a peak of more than 6,000 cases on Jan. 18, cases have dropped to a weekly average of 415.
If you’re traveling to Hawaii, here is what you need to know to plan for your trip: Hawaii mandates a five-day self-quarantine for domestic travelers from the mainland and U.S. territories.
The state also requires travelers from the mainland U.S. and its territories to register for its Safe Travels Hawaii program.
The program offers two ways to bypass quarantine: Show proof of full vaccination or a negative result on a pre-travel test. You don’t have to do both, it’s one or the other.
If you want to skip the screening at the Honolulu airport, you should upload your documents to the state’s online portal, Safe Travels Hawaii. Once you’ve done so, you’ll get a QR code via email.
You no longer have to answer a health questionnaire on the portal 24 hours before the flight. The state eliminated that requirement on Jan. 4.
At the Guam airport, once you get to your boarding gate, there will be an area where you line up to get pre-cleared with your QR code.
Show the QR code to the United agent, and you’ll receive a wristband that will allow you to skip past the processing line at the Honolulu airport.
To participate in the Vaccination Exemption Program, Hawaii requires an up-to-date vaccination. Hawaii considers you up to date if you have had your full vaccination at least 14 days before arriving in Hawaii.
At the height of the surge, state officials were considering adding the COVID-19 booster to be considered fully vaccinated. But on Feb. 8, Gov. David Ige said that wouldn’t be happening.
For anyone who doesn’t qualify for the vaccination exemption, including children 5 years and older, your other option to bypass quarantine is to have a negative result on a pre-travel test.
To participate in Hawaii’s Pre-Travel Testing Program, you’ll need to have a negative test result from one of the state’s approved travel partners.
According to the state’s COVID-19 online portal, travel partners on Guam include Diagnostic Laboratory Services and the Department of Public Health and Social Services. For the CNMI, Commonwealth Health Corp. is listed as a trusted partner. Only Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests are accepted, according to the site.
Also, the test must be within 72 hours before departure from Guam — the state won’t accept test results if you receive them after your departure.
The results must be uploaded on the Safe Travels portal or you have to have a hard copy to show when you arrive in Honolulu. Even if you have uploaded it onto the portal, though, I suggest bringing a hard copy anyway because you just never know.
If you haven’t registered on the Safe Travels site or haven’t uploaded your vaccination or test documents, you’ll have to wait to get screened instead of going straight to the baggage area.
If you’re not fully vaccinated or didn’t take a pre-travel test, you are required to self-quarantine for five days. You’ll have to go directly from the airport to a hotel or motel — there is no government quarantine facility like there is on Guam and you’re not allowed to quarantine in a vacation rental like Airbnb.
You can’t leave your hotel or motel to get food or other supplies, and you can’t hang out with anyone while you’re in quarantine.
You can expect to receive emails and text to check if you’re complying with quarantine, and you might even get a visit from police or plainclothes investigators. If you violate self-quarantine, you face possible fines of up to $5,000 and one year in prison.