At a press conference on August 23, Governor David Ige asked visitors to stay away from Hawaii until the end of October. This press conference, combined with articles in the local press seems to have confused many people. Since that news conference many people have canceled their travel plans to the State. Ige acknowledged that “most” new cases of the virus are the result of residents traveling off-island and coming back home to spread COVID-19 in the community. He then went on to say, “I’m asking all residents and visitors alike to restrict travel, curtail travel, to Hawaii to essential activities only”.
In a follow-up press conference, on Monday September 13, the Governor announced that there are no plans for another full-scale shutdown in Hawaii, despite an ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the islands. Governor Ige stated that if he does enact additional restrictions, they will likely be in the form of curfews or further restrictions on the size of social gatherings.
At this time, hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients have remained stable and there are signs that the rapid rise in cases of the virus is abating. The seven-day average of new cases had dropped 37% from where they were two weeks prior, according to the state’s data and the number of tests coming back positive declined to 6.9% in the same time period.
As of September 13, There were 165,680 eligible Hawaii residents out of a total population of 1.42 million who had not initiated the vaccination process, according to state data. Children under age 12 still aren’t eligible for the vaccine. There are 76.6% of the eligible population in Hawaii now fully vaccinated, while 86.4% of the eligible population has received at least one shot. By comparison, 63% of the eligible U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while 74% has received at least one shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ige’s comments reflect a significant shift in public policy relating to the coronavirus. While prior to the vaccine, the focus was on controlling cases, now the emphasis is on ensuring adequate health care resources. In addition to the widespread availability of free vaccines, Ige noted that the treatment for COVID-19 has improved. While the state has ample hospital beds, staffing has been a major constraint, prompting the state to bring in an extra 600 nurses and other health care professionals to assist with COVID- 19 patients.
Effective February 25, the County of Honolulu (Oahu) moved to Tier 3 of their COVID-19 Reopening Plan. This is one step closer to the most relaxed step, Tier 4. Tier 3, as you can guess allows more activities and operations. A breakdown of some of the changes in Tier 3 are:
One thing that I thought was to be included in Tier 3 but is not, is the reopening of bars and nightclubs. It seems this does not happen until Tier 4.
Rick Blangiardi, the new Mayor of Honolulu pointed out that advancing to Tier 3 “does not mean we can let our guard down”. The wearing of masks in public, social distancing and staying home when feeling sick are all still very important. Should the number of new cases and the positivity rate increase, we could potentially move back down to Tier 2.
Below is an Infographic from the County detailing Tier 3
LIVE Tier 3 Honolulu Reopening Strategy – For more info go to oneoahu.org by Honolulu DEM
We recently received a notice from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau alerting us to the existence of unofficial websites that make people think they are affiliated with the State of Hawaii.
According to the State; Numerous travelers have reported using an unofficial Safe Travels websites thinking that it was affiliated with the State of Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program. The State has issued the following alert: Traveler ALERT. The State of Hawaii DOES NOT charge fees to apply for the Safe Travels program, or to create a Safe Travels account, or to access the Safe Travels application, or for Safe Travels information. The OFFICIAL STATE OF HAWAII websites for the State of Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program are https://hawaiicovid19.com/
Thinking of a warm weather getaway? A place with beaches, sand and sunshine? Perhaps you’re thinking of the Caribbean, Mexico or the South of France. Well, a new CDC rule related to COVID-19 may have you re-thinking your plans.
Under this new CDC rule that becomes effective January 26, all international air passengers (two years and older) arriving into the US will be required to get a viral test for COVID-19 within three days prior to their flight departure to the US. If you live in the US, you might think “OK what’s that got to do with me”? Well, this rule applies to US residents as well as others. The rule states that passengers must provide the airline written documentation of their negative laboratory test results or documentation of recovery from COVID-19. If a passenger is unable or unwilling to provide the required documentation, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.
Whoa, suddenly this makes things seem much more serious and complicated. Imagine flying to say, Mexico as an example, for a week of rest and relaxation at a nice beachfront hotel enjoying the warmth and sunshine. Then suddenly having to scramble to find a place to get a test and the accompanying paperwork before you can get on a plane to go home. This then begs the question, what happens if just one person in your party is unable to get the test and paperwork? Do you leave them behind or does the whole party stay?
What’s a person to do? You NEED to get away, you WANT a vacation to a warm place with beautiful beaches, warmth and sunshine. We at Ola Properties have the solution for you! Pack your bags and head to Ko Olina on the beautiful, sun filled Leeward Coast of Oahu! Ko Olina has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet and the famous lagoons here are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and just relaxing.
Admittedly, if you’re coming to Ko Olina you will want to get a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival in Hawaii so that you can avoid the state’s 10 day quarantine. Find the latest Hawaii travel and entry requirements by visiting https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/
Personally, I would much rather get the COVID-19 testing out of the way before I go on vacation rather than dealing with it while there. I could imagine myself waking up on day five of a seven day vacation, suddenly remembering that the family needed tests and spending the remainder of our vacation scrambling to find a testing site in unfamiliar territory and hoping to get tested in time to get on a plane back home: with the entire family!
Why create additional stress for yourself by traveling outside the country? Hop on a plane and come to Ko Olina instead. We have weekly rentals at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina or if you are able to work and school remotely, consider one of our longer term rentals and stay for a month or more. Maybe you can ride out the worst of the pandemic here on Oahu where our infection numbers are much lower than most of the Mainland. Give us a call at (808) 726-2878 Ext 1, or you can book directly from our website if you prefer.
PLEASE NOTE: In yet another Mandate, the Governor of Hawaii has changed the 14-day quarantine to a 10-day quarantine effective 12/17/2020.
Please Note, the requirements for traveling to Hawaii and bypassing the
14 10-day quarantine have recently changed. On November 16, Governor Ige of Hawaii announced his 15th COVID-19
Emergency Proclamation and Mandate. Part of that mandate changed the requirements for trans-Pacific arriving in Hawaii and being able to bypass the
14 10-day Quarantine requirements. In the interest of accuracy, I’ve pretty much done a “Cut & Paste” of information from the State’s website and included links to additional information.
State of Hawaii Safe Travels Hawaii Program
Aloha! The State of Hawaii Safe Travels Hawaii program is a multilayered process designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community from trans-Pacific visitor and resident passengers arriving at airports/ports across the Islands.
This enhanced entry into Hawaii includes a pre-travel testing program, the Mandatory State of Hawaii Travel and Health Form, and temperature screening at all Hawaii airports upon arrival. TEMPORARY: On Kaua‘i, as of Dec. 2, 2020, all travelers must quarantine
14 10-days upon arrival with or without a test.
The state of Hawaii will ONLY accept Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) lab test results from TRUSTED TESTING AND TRAVEL PARTNERS.
A 14-day mandatory quarantine will be required for trans-Pacific travelers arriving WITHOUT a confirmed negative COVID-19 test taken within the 72 hours before departure of the final leg of their trip to Hawaii. Travelers will not be able to obtain a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) upon arrival at any Hawaiʻi airport.
All trans-Pacific travelers who board a plane on the final leg of their trip to the Hawaiian Islands without first securing a negative test will be subject to mandatory quarantine. Tests must be taken with trusted testing and travel partners with 72 hours of departure.
The negative test result must be uploaded onto Safe Travels prior to departure or printed out prior to departure and hard copy in hand when arriving in Hawaii.
Travelers without a negative test result before boarding the final leg of their flight MUST quarantine for 14 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter. It is important travelers consider the duration and considerable expense of possible quarantine before embarking.
Travelers from Canada and Japan may also bypass the State of Hawaii’s mandatory
14 10-day quarantine by securing a pre-travel test from a trusted testing and travel partner 72 hours prior to departure on the final leg of their journey to Hawaii. Travelers from Canada and Japan who do not secure a negative COVID-19 test BEFORE departure will be subject to the same mandatory 14-day quarantine regulation as other trans-Pacific travelers. The negative test result must be uploaded onto Safe Travels prior to departure or printed out prior to departure and hard copy in hand when arriving in Hawaii.
For travelers from Canada, please visit Air Canada or WestJet.
For travelers from Japan, please visit Hawaii Tourism Japan (Japanese).
At this time, there are no other enhanced entry options available for international travel.
Please click HERE if you would like to be directed to the Safe Travels Hawaii Overview.
UPDATE TO HAWAII’S PRE-TRAVEL TESTING PROGRAM
It’s been a little over two weeks since Hawaii implemented their COVID-19 Pre-travel testing program. It started out a bit rocky with many people having to quarantine after arriving in Hawaii, due to delayed test results. I spoke with one traveler who waited a full ten days to get his test results. He then had to wait two more days after uploading the results to Hawaii’s website to get his official Quarantine Release.
With all this in mind, below are a few tips I found in the Honolulu Star Advertiser that may help speed you through the process.
Tips for Hawaii travelers who want to expedite exemptions from quarantine:
Ko Olina closed their lagoons to the Public (and resort residents) fairly early in the COVID-19 pandemic for safety reasons. The lagoons were opened once or twice during the past few months, but the parking lots remained closed. If you wanted to swim in the lagoons at this time, you had to either walk to the lagoons, or have someone drop you off. There were periods when you could swim in the lagoons but were not allowed to sit on the beaches. Other times the lagoon walkways & comfort stations were closed and those who wanted to walk in the resort had to walk along the streets and sidewalks rather than the lagoons.
Like with a lot of rules and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic this became quite confusing to most everyone involved. All this was done in the interest of safety. Trying to keep the public, resort residents and resort employees safe.
The closing of the lagoons and beaches, perhaps along with the confusion upset quite a few people. Residents of the resort complained, as did neighbors of the resort. There were editorials written in the local papers and comments left on news sites and of course on social media. Eventually, the City & County of Honolulu told resort management they had to open the beaches and parking lots. After what seemed like several days of discussions between the city and the resort, the beaches. and lagoons were opened to the public on October 16.
As of this writing, social distancing must still be practiced while at the lagoons and on the beach. Groups at the lagoons are limited to a maximum of five people and masks must be worn when people are not in the water. Some of those restrictions will be relaxed if the County moves into Tier 2 of their reopening plan. Although the lagoons, beaches and parking lots have been opened, parking at lagoons 1 & 4 is at only 50% at this time with every other parking space blocked off.
The lagoons, beaches and parking lots are open again. Yes, there are restrictions and parking is more limited than usual but I believe most people are happy about all that. Even on a recent cloudy day the beaches were busy with families enjoying themselves. Remember, COVID-19 Virus is still a danger and Ko Olina Management is trying to keep people safe.
Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program for Trans-Pacific travelers is still on schedule to launch on Oct. 15, allowing trans-Pacific travelers to bypass quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 before arriving. While the tests for travelers are slated to be available through Walgreens, CVS, Kaiser Permanente and other partners, some airlines are also rolling out their own testing programs to woo travelers back to air travel.
Beginning: Oct. 12
Alaska Airlines is partnering with healthcare provider Carbon Health to offer rapid COVID-19 testing in pop-up clinics across the West Coasts, beginning Oct. 12 in Seattle.
Cost: $135 for Alaska flyers, and will be ready within two hours
Testing is available for Alaska passengers 3 months and older.
Beginning: Oct. 15
Location: Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
American Airlines will offer three options for pre-flight COVID-19 testing to customers with flights from DFW to Honolulu and Maui.
Cost: $129 for the at-home option. American will release details later on the cost of other options.
Beginning: “Around Oct. 15”
Location: Labs located near Los Angeles and San Francisco International airports
Hawaiian Airlines will offer a drive-thru PCR test to customers traveling from California to Hawaii. Hawaiian Airlines said that more testing locations will be announced later at “other U.S. mainland gateways.”
Beginning: Oct. 15
Location: San Francisco International Airport
Location: Oakland Airport
Beginning: Oct. 15
Location: Facility at the airport’s North Field terminal complex, 9070 Earhart Road.
Oakland Airport officials have also announced they will launch their own pre-travel testing program for passengers. Free tests will be conducted by appointment only by CityHealth Urgent Care.
Information provided by Hawaii News Now on October 1. Below is a link to their video & story.
Larry here with Ola Properties with some good news. Yesterday on September 16th, Governor David Ige of Hawaii announced that effective October 15th, the 14-day quarantine for transpacific travelers would no longer be needed if they get a negative COVID test 72 hours prior to arrival.
Now, this may sound a bit familiar to you as I think this may be the third time he’s said it and I’m pretty sure that a couple of months ago, I made a very similar video saying very similar things and that didn’t happen. However, I’m much more optimistic about this one today. I just have a feeling that this one might actually stick and effective October 15th it will be much easier for us to welcome travelers back to the state. The governor has stated that the state has a contract with CVS pharmacies, as well as Kaiser Permanente to do the testing, and that’s all in place so that’s part of what makes me feel much more optimistic about this.
So let’s hope that everything works out and October 15th things will open up a little more.