LIHU‘E — Travel restrictions to Kaua‘i for out-of-state travelers will soon mirror those of the state’s.
Effective April 5, with a state-approved, negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding a flight, travelers will be able to bypass a state-mandated quarantine.
Friday, Gov. David Ige approved Mayor Derek Kawakami’s request to re-enter the state’s pre-travel Safe Travels program.
“This emergency rule will simplify travel to Hawai‘i by including Kaua‘i in the existing Safe Travels program,” Ige said in a press release. “The increased restrictions over the winter months helped Mayor Kawakami safely balance travel with the health and safety of residents and visitors on the Garden Island.”
Kaua‘i temporarily opted-out of the state’s Safe Travels program last December in an attempt to squash a spike in travel- and community-related COVID-19 infections. This required out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 10 days.
Kawakami pointed to its “robust vaccination program on the island” that has administered more than 26,000 vaccines as of Thursday, including to health-care workers, first responders and educators. Starting Monday, along with the state, the county will begin offering injections to those who are 70 and older.
One of the reasons for the April open date is to allow the county time to supply vaccines to those in the hospitality, tourism and food industries.
Kawakami submitted the request Tuesday to opt back into Safe Travels.
“I thank Governor Ige for recognizing Kaua‘i’s unique, rural community with limited resources, and allowing us to institute stricter testing and quarantine rules over the winter months as cases spiked on the mainland,” Kawakami said in a press release.
Until Rule 25 goes into effect next month, out-of-state travelers must remain quarantined for 10 days at a private residence or take a pre-test and stay at an Enhanced Quarantine Movement Resort Bubble property. With this latter option, after three days contained to the resort’s property, these travelers may take another COVID-19 test. Upon a negative result, they are released from quarantine.
Out-of-state travelers may also stay three days or 72 hours on another island to qualify as an inter-island traveler, and must follow Safe Travels rules.
At this time, per state rules, vaccines do not preclude travelers from quarantine restrictions.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.