Mayors want pre-, post-travel tests

LIHU‘E — All four county mayors have agreed on a new, unified, Safe Travels modification, and are awaiting word from Gov. David Ige.

The joint proposal would require incoming trans-Pacific travelers to take a pre-travel test as well as a post-arrival test three to four days after arrival, Mayor Derek Kawakami said Friday.

Kawakami said the temporary opt-out of the Safe Travels program was to get ahead of a spike in cases in the county. Since Wednesday, the county has been enforcing a 14-day, mandatory quarantine of all travelers, regardless of pre-travel or post-travel tests, residency or where they are traveling from.

“Our hope is to avoid a lockdown on our island and continue in Tier 4, which is the least-restrictive tier,” Kawakami said. “The suspension on the Safe Travels program is intended to be temporary, and we fully expect there will be modifications.”

At this time, traveling between islands will remain on the current Safe Travels program, if this new proposal is approved.

“The joint proposal by the mayors is specific to trans-Pacific travelers, so the assumption is that inter-island travel would remain on the current Safe Travels program,” a county spokesperson said Friday.

Friday, the county had no new infections of COVID-19 to report. As of that afternoon, there are currently 14 active cases in isolation, with one in the hospital. This brings the county’s cumulative case count to 138, with 121 confirmed locally.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new recommendations on quarantines, suggesting travelers get tested up to three days before a flight, then tested between three and five days after travel while staying home for a week. With a negative test, quarantine can be shorted to a week. Without a test, the CDC recommends a 10-day quarantine.

Friday, the state Department of Health followed, shortening its quarantine guidelines for those who have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus, like close contacts. The DOH officially recommends 10 days “to improve compliance without significantly increasing the risk of transmission in the community,” a press release stated.

“We are following the CDC’s guidance for a shorter quarantine to address the mental- and emotional-health issues caused by isolation, and to improve compliance,” said Dr. Elizabeth Char, DOH director, in a press release. “This updated guidance balances the ongoing need to control the spread of the virus in our state while also continuing to safely reopen our state and reducing the personal burden of quarantines on Hawai‘i residents.”

The state’s guidance does come with stipulations to those living in congregate settings like correctional facilities and long-term-care facilities, rehabilitation facilities and military-recruit housing.

The DOH still recommends daily symptom self-monitoring to continue through two weeks, and to seek testing and self-isolate.

Kawakami said he and his team will continue to monitor the situation, but there is no word yet on shortening the two-week quarantine on Kaua‘i.

“There is no testing exemption, but we are aware that Governor Ige is considering new CDC quarantine guidance, and could reduce the length of the travel quarantine down to the recommended 10 days,” Kawakami said.

Quarantine rules as of Dec. 4

According to Kauai’s Rule 23, travelers must quarantine, negative pre-test or not when arriving on Kaua‘i.

Residents, as well as visitors, may spend their two-weeks at private residences. However, in accordance with a past order, visitors may not stay in transient vacation or short-term rentals, like those found on Airbnb or VRBO. Visitors are also not allowed to rent cars until after the 14-day quarantine.

Travelers may also stay at an “Enhanced Movement Quarantine,” or resort bubble, property. Guests have use of on-site amenities, like golf courses, spas and dining facilities. Stays at these locations are monitored with tracking bracelets that if tampered with would alert security.

A statement from Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort &Spa clarified Friday that it will be temporarily suspending operations beginning Monday through at least the end of the year due to these quarantine rules.

The Grand Hyatt, however, was approved as a resort bubble, but is not going forward with these plans at this time.

“Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i applied for the resort bubble program as a means to assess all options and the application was approved on Dec. 2,” a statement said Friday. “The resort continues to closely monitor updates and recommendations from various health organizations and is exploring all possibilities for viable operations but at this time will remain closed beginning Dec. 7 through Dec. 31, 2020. As that date nears the resort will evaluate the situation with hopes to reopen in early 2021.”


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or

  1. I saw a Vampire once December 5, 2020 2:09 am Reply

    That just does it for tourism. On the 14 day quarantine, no one is allowed to rent cars. Another part of the local jobs community down the tubes. Closing down will be the rental cars too.

    1. Susan December 5, 2020 3:51 pm Reply

      “That just does it for tourism.”

      I know, right? Isn’t it awesome!!! We can finally live our lives again without worrying about all these infected tourist-zombies getting us sick. Our kids can go back to school and their outdoor sports, and we can go back to the beach. Too bad about your snorkel rental business or whatever it is you are peddling, but you’ll find something else 😉

      1. Sue San December 5, 2020 9:14 pm Reply

        So Susan, just how do your support your lifestyle and confidence with tourism being drowned again.

        Please share you source of income as it may give the 60% of the island living directly and indirectly from tourism a clue on how to survive without visitors?

      2. Aloha808 December 11, 2020 1:29 pm Reply

        In incredibly ignorant set of statements. Virus is community spread, tourists were not here and/or on 14-day quarantine when we had the spikes in July, August, and even the current cases each day now. There are NO outdoor, organized sport leagues for our youth, and certainly nothing being offered in the near future. Secondary students in the DOE have had 2 days of in-person learning since March. Additionally, the term “peddling” for owning a so-called “snorkel rental business” is extremely condescending, and shows so much lack of respect and unawareness for how tourism loss affects our economy. Specifically, businesses (both tourism and non-tourism) are the first to suffer, then comes the State furloughs, maybe City and County are next? Significant losses in TAT tax collections, GE collections. Million dollar plus and multi-million dollar homes selling like hotcakes to mainland buyers, with residents leaving the islands permanently, happily because they got full price offers on their properties.

  2. Bob December 5, 2020 5:53 am Reply

    So now the CDC is recommending the same plan that the mayors want, and the only thing standing in the way is David Ige, a man with such horrible leadership skills, even when he knew the missile warning was false, he was so paralyzed with fear he couldn’t tell the people of Hawaii that it was a false alarm. Heaven help us.

    1. Suzanne Stratton Heflin December 6, 2020 11:47 am Reply

      Susan, your sarcastic remarks are really getting tiresome, especially to the folks that do the landscaping and clean the rooms at the Hyatt, and everyone else that are not millionaires but are terribly affected. Your lack of compassion is astounding.

  3. kauaiboy December 5, 2020 5:54 am Reply


    “Residents, as well as visitors, may spend their two-weeks at private residences. However, in accordance with a past order, visitors may not stay in transient vacation or short-term rentals, like those found on Airbnb or VRBO.”

    Visitors are allowed to quarantine at private residences? So come stay with your friend who is already on Kauai in a studio rental. Or stay with your second cousin who you have never met. Or stay in a condo owned by your parent’s friend from work AS LONG AS IT IS NOT ONE OF THOSE GOD-FORBIDDEN TVR RENTALS!

    This is utter discrimination against TVR owners. It is a lawsuit ready to happen.

    Why not allow visitors to quarantine at a TVR, as long as it is managed by an owner or a rental agent who live on Kauai? That is safer than a bubble resort , safer than staying with a resident, safer than staying with Mayor Kawakami!

    And it would put some money into our struggling economy.

    1. kauaiguy December 6, 2020 3:49 pm Reply

      This is an important point not to be ignored. We currently have 14 active cases and remains at 0.6% positivity, which is unheard of in almost every other place in the country.

      While the Mayor talks about the safety of the local community, his actions appear otherwise. How about the economic safety of residents? The Hyatt having to go public to say they are NOT participating in the bubble resort scheme. This is Kauai’s biggest private employer, and they are closing without a start date in response to the Mayor’s quarantine.

      They also continue to propose a second test, requiring a 5 day quarantine at an approved hotel, and not allowing them to stay in a rental. They are safer in a rental, able to control their own space, and not be constantly having to interact with other travelers.
      They also continue to propose a second test, requiring a 5 day quarantine at an approved hotel, and not allowing them to stay in a rental. They are safer in a rental, able to control their own space, and not be constantly having to interact with other travelers.Local workers are also safer not working at a property that is being used to “fence” in guests with monitoring devices. Whey come to Kauai to be in one of these resorts when there are many options. Property managers are just as responsible to watch their guests, as local law enforcement.
      The Big Island is using a fast check test upon arrival, and not requiring travelers to go into quarantine at a hotel. An antigen test would be a different type of test, and not repeating the same test they took before departure.
      The Mayor has consistently painted a label on visitors and owners of TVR’s and condos, that they are the cause of the virus. The numbers of traveling residents, returning to Kauai, is almost as large as the arriving ones that actually brings jobs and much needed money to the island. To single out one type of accommodation, over the other, is discrimination unto itself. We must stop demonizing property owners who rent out their properties and add to the economy in doing so. They are people with mortgages who pay taxes to the community, as do their off island guests. Using fear as a weapon is a tactic of many politicians. Aren’t you sick of it yet?

  4. Home grown December 5, 2020 6:25 am Reply

    This is all good! Remember “safe Travel” is the key word. nothing mentioned at all, about transpacific travelers need to show their test proof prior to boarding any airlines! Boarding with out proof will only place us back to step one 15 October. Travelers have slipped through the cracks and received their test results as positive! Upon arrival. Let’s make the system work it takes two to tango! Check there and do what we need to do here upon arrival! Safe travels

  5. Sharon December 5, 2020 6:25 am Reply

    Sounding good!!! But what protection plans are in place for the workers at the resort bubble sites?

  6. Jay Franklin December 5, 2020 7:37 am Reply

    Mayor Kawakami, Do you realize how much harm your reinstatement of the 14 day quarantine has caused? You should have pushed for this new protocol to begin with. The people of Kauai are suffering so much and you poured salt on the wound. I know with your County salary, you kids won’t miss out on Christmas presents this year…..

  7. Simple Solutions December 5, 2020 9:35 am Reply

    It’s too late now, implementing the 14-day quarantine was very short-sighted as it is not so easy to switch travel off and on. We see how popular the Mayor’s Bubble Resort idea is as Kauai visitors dropped from 1,004 on December 1st to 78 visitors on December 2nd.

    The Bubble Resort is so popular in fact that the Hyatt opted-out and the airlines have cut the number of flights to our island.

    We are three days into the new 14-day quarantine and we can already see the impact on our businesses. It is like watching a horror movie “Covid-19 – The Second Wave” where the businesses that survived the first wave can not avoid the inevitable. Just when all businesses (big and small) were given a lifeline with Safe Travels, the mayor pulls it in and leaves us alone straining to survive.

    Even when a post-arrival test is mandated in the coming days (and it will) the damage is done, peak Christmas travel ain’t coming back this year, and I wonder what businesses are going to left after the damage caused by the Mayor’s 14-day knee jerk reaction

  8. Amy December 5, 2020 10:01 am Reply

    Are you kidding me Kauai Mayor? So NOW after people have canceled plans, canceled their vacations, people’s chlidren returning home canceled their plans NOW you want to go back to what was being discussed in the first place?

    Do you understand how many people’s lives you have ruined by your leadership? While you are still collecting YOUR salary?

    Again, I have to question where is the Common Sense in any of these decisions? The virus has a 99% RECOVERY RATE! CDC FIGURES look it up:

    According to the CDC, the virus has a
    -99. 98% for ages up to 49
    – 99.5% for ages 50 – 69
    – 94.6% for 70 plus

    OPEN KAUAI, OPEN HAWAII Stop ruining people’s lives, businesses and causing such unnecessary stress over a virus that is no worse than the flu and by the way which swept through Kauai in January & February.

    Aloha All ~ our FREEDOM, our Constituational Rights and more importantly our rights as human beings are more important than this nonsense.

    1. Lamy December 5, 2020 4:42 pm Reply

      According to the CDC data, survival rate is around 98 %

      Sounds great right? Sadly its obvious that most people didn’t pass high school math. Kauai’s Population was 72,293 in 2019. Two percent of that would be 1446 people dying. Fine with that? Still in a rush to let nature take its course even though the vaccines are coming down the pipeline? Well don’t forget that if we have tourist coming and going (monthly visitor rates of 100k – 140k per month) some of them are going to end up sick. I’m sure our hospital is well equipped to handle a few thousand people at a time.

      To anyone that’s done a simple google search, its obvious that covid is not comparable to the flu. The US has an average 34k deaths a year to flu. Covid is approaching 300k. Pretty simple. The irony is that I bet you don’t even get your flu shot every year, which would take a few minutes and could help prevent flu deaths.

      You should look up the Dunning-Kruger Effect

      Summed up, when you know a little bit about a subject (take your average FB posting about how coronavirus is like the flu) then you are confident you know a lot about a subject, while in actuality you know very little. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you actually know. Then when you learn a lot about a subject, (like say your average CDC doctor who has specialized in learning about diseases for decades of their lives) you finally start to get back to that confidence in your knowledge and this time you actually do know a lot about it. Food for thought, looks like your brain could use it.

      1. truth be known December 6, 2020 2:19 pm Reply

        Lamy, it’s apparent that you had some trouble with high school math as your calculation assumes that the entire population of Kauai has become infected with COVID. The actual calculation should be 98% of those infected survive. The total number of infected people thus far on Kauai is 121 so 98% of 121=119 infected and survived, 2 deceased. That corresponds closely to the actual number of deaths. Also your 300,000 nationwide death figure doesn’t take into consideration the fact that approximately 80% of that figure, 240,000, were also suffering from 2 or more comorbidity factors (serious illnesses), leaving 60,000 having purportedly died because of COVID alone.

  9. steven December 5, 2020 1:10 pm Reply

    This is so deeply saddening. Let’s recognize that there are so many left without hope on Kauai.

    I applaud the Grand Hyatt. They cautiously reopened a week before the 4-day notice to shut down. Imagine how difficult it will be to reevaluate 2021.

    It is too late to “reduce the personal burden of quarantines.” Let’s concentrate on helping those who may not make it through the holiday.

  10. randy wastal December 5, 2020 1:50 pm Reply

    It was a pressure drop to get negative tests just in time to go to Kauai for the holiday due to last minute restrictions but we paid our trip costs back in September. We would not have taken the vacation if we knew it was going to get so risky, but we tried to buy CFAR insurance too late. We had a great time and we returned on December 2nd. If all mask up and be civil you can keep the economy alive and stop the spread. People were friendly
    I am disappointed to see the quote in the article below about “haoles” or foreigners”. UH professor seems mean. I’m glad she was not part of our experience.

  11. Levine December 5, 2020 2:46 pm Reply

    Southern California and the Bay Area are now under stay at home orders and somehow people still don’t understand that the mayor’s decision is in fact reasonable? We are not the center of the world. Decisions made here must take into account the situation on the mainland and in the rest of the world.

    Visitors and more importantly returning residents are transiting through these hubs where the situation is so dire that politicians have to make unpopular calls. Nobody wants to make unpopular decisions but that is what true leadership implies. Unfortunately, the situation will get worse on the mainland before it gets better. Excess deaths in the USA compared to past years are already above 350,000 despite all the mitigation measures put in place and sacrifices made. The issue is not so much the death rate as the rapidity at which this virus spreads. The real danger is saturation of medical capacities to deal with the 5 to 10% of the infected population which will develop serious- life threatening- symptoms.

    By the way: if you or a loved one gets into a car crash tonight you will probably be glad that there is an ICU bed available. Same if you have a heart attack or if your child falls from his bike. Accidents happen, people get sick that’s part of life. How we deal with these situations is how we show our true character.

    There is no magic bullet solution. It takes multiple adjustments at the individual and collective level to limit the spread: responsability, physical distancing, masks, coughing etiquette, better treatment and hopefully soon vaccines are part of the solution. Not denial and spreading false information or misleading narratives.

    1. kauaiguy December 6, 2020 3:52 pm Reply

      Yes, and by the way, don’t worry about a crash victim having an ICU bed available. Last time I checked , none were being taken by COVID cases. Stop using fear to make your point.

  12. Aloha808 December 5, 2020 3:57 pm Reply

    This test request is really great, and don’t see why it won’t get approval this time around. But, the damage to Kauai and Hawaii in general was done Nov. 27th. It will take a long time for residents and visitors to begin travel to/from Kauai and trust that Kauai will keep its word. But seeing that the bubble resorts are the only place to stay at now, will the homes with legal vacation rentals in VDA zones get a break on their County tax rates from the County, seeing that the Mayor has made it illegal for any visitors to rent from them? Seems like a fair trade off.

  13. EastCoaster December 5, 2020 5:41 pm Reply

    I used to come to Kauai twice a year but stopped doing it for the last 1.5 years for several reasons. Just came back home after snorkeling for 5 days around Cozumel island in Mexico. No travel restrictions, no pre- travel or post- travel tests. Half-empty airplanes with everyone wearing masks. Hotels in Cozumel are at may be 15% occupancy. Everything is cleaned, even hotel beach towels are packed in plastic with a seal. Excellent hotels and inexpensive food at open air restaurants where you feel very welcome. During my stay I have probably encountered total a half dozen hotel workers (all wearing masks) just a few min at a time. Much less then I see going to a local supermarket on the East Coast. What would be my reasons to go to Kauai instead of Mexico in the future?
    Did we just hear a story that some Kauai residents got on the plane after tested positive for Covid-19? Note that I do not want to get infected from people around me. I do know that hotels in Mexico would go far and beyond to make me safe but I do hear nothing about such safety measures in Kauai.

  14. J.D. December 5, 2020 7:11 pm Reply

    One bad plan after another. The constant change of requirements have frustrated residents and visitors.

  15. kerry December 5, 2020 10:59 pm Reply

    It’s as if you dont understand what’s happening in the rest of the country!? IMO we should be grateful that Kawakami has the guts to keep things here safe. All the West Coast is on lockdown because cases and deaths are hitting all-time highs. Infectivity rate is up to 8-10%! And this is where the bulk of our tourism comes from. This will pass. We need money tho to keep people from going under, we should focus on distribution of funds and keeping people OK for another 6-8 weeks, vaccine will come, and the worst will be over.

  16. Amy December 7, 2020 12:48 pm Reply

    Well I guess you are one of those Deep State Trolls . You immediately start making derogatory comments about my comment. You’re quoting wikipedia as a credible source? The CDC figures I gave are correct. There is worldwide evidence coming from Doctors including this country that this has been a complete fake. People are wakign up to that. The so calle people who have died….. Health officials won’t release inforamtion about what really caused their deaths because they all had underlying conditions. There’s no point in engaging with a Deep State Troll who is paid to comment and continue the disinformation racket.

  17. Amy December 7, 2020 1:46 pm Reply

    Lamy You immediately start making derogatory comments about my comment. Rest of the comment application to Levine and anyone else who still believes in this “pandemic”. You’re quoting wikipedia as a credible source? The CDC figures I gave are correct. There is worldwide evidence coming from Doctors including this country that this has been a complete fake. You are the one who has not researched. All you do is listen to CNN MSNBC, FOx News and other mainstream media all of which are owned by the same people who do not have our best intersts at heart. DId you do High school biology? Do you know BASICS of how diseases are transmitted? I posted this on another of these “articles” – I used to travel internationally 50% of the time. I can assure you that an airborned virus in Wuhan would have traveled AROUND THE WORLD in 7 days, max 14. Someone gets on a plane in Wuhan, flies to London Heathrow. They walk past people who are getting flights to New York, L.A. Dallas, Rome, Buenos Aires… you name it. 12 hours later the person who got infected by the WUhan person in London is sitting having a Latte next to someone getting on pane for. …. guess where? Hawaii! Covid 19 went around Kauai in January and Feburary this year, …. BEFORE LOCKDOWN. I know tons of. people who were coughing and had a bad flu…. don’t you remember? Or don’t you. live here?

    If it’s as dangerous as they say it is… NOTHING CAN STOP THE SPREAD! Knutt Wittoskie, 20 year Veteran professor at the Rockerfeller Institute and Epidemiologist who SPECIALIZES IN CORONAVIRUSES said at the beginning of March that a/ there had been 2 coronaviruses before, this one was no different no was it any more deadly b/ the only way to deal with an airborne virus is to develpe herd immunity c/ Herd immunity is reached by alloweing kids to go to school, infect the families, people get it, develop immunity and within 4 weeks maximum 80% or herd immunity is reached. d/. He said this virus is NO MORE DEADLY THAN THE PREVIOUS ONES AND NO MORE DEADLY THAN REGULAR FLU. e/ the very WORST thing you can do is to lock people up, prevent them getting fresh air and have them wear masks which do not prevent the spread of the viruts but CONVERSELY ACTUALLY INCREASE ITS SPREAD AND DURATION.

    All of this information has together with the countless well respected Doctors including Dr. Lozano in Texas, Drs. Masahi & Erison in CA, Doctos Simone Gold, James Todaro &. Stella Emmanuel who have all consistently said the virus is not deadly, it can be cured by hydroxycloroquinine – as in they have treated HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WITH IT SUCCESSFULLY & masks do not work….. has been ignored by the mainstream media and emocrat controlled states – like us – who seem intent on continuing lockdowns that don’t work and takign away our Freedom and civil rights.

    You have been sold a PACK OF LIES and you are still believing it….. you really need to start using some common sense! Do some REAL RESEARCH – stop repeating what you heard on CNN or Fox.

    The so calle people who have died….. Health officials won’t release inforamtion about what really caused their deaths because they all had underlying conditions. There’s no point in engaging with a Deep State Troll who is paid to comment and continue the disinformation racket.

    There IS NO PANDEMIC. There never was. This has been about something much darker than a virus which is no more deadly than flu.

    Finally, are you guys happy to have Keiki wearing masks for the rest of their lives? Or are you happy to have vaccines develped by the Bill Gates Foundation whose STATED PURPOSE is “depopulation” and who have been sued so many times for killing people with vaccines it’s unbelieveable that the man is not in jail. Gates just tested his Covid 19 vaccine on 100 people in the UK who “volunteered” and were paid 100k for it. Every single one died within 7 days FROM THE VACCINE. None of them had Covid before. That news is not being spread around. I have that from someone who spoke to one of the victim’s parents.

    WHy do Vaccines contain human foetal matter & aluminium? How can that possibly be healthy for anyone? Why is it that in the 60s children had a maximum of 6 vaccinations by the time they were 10, now it’s something like 46? Why is the health of our children getting WORSE? When are you going to start asking questions and going after the TRUTH?

    Big Brother is here George Orwell may have been out by 46 years… but everything else in 1984 was spot on. If you haven’t read that book you might want to do that ; you will be surprised by the parallels with what’s happened in 2020.

    Wake up Kauai.

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