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Breaking News

Isle rejoins Safe Travels in April

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.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

10 Comments
  1. Mel March 6, 2021 7:25 am Reply

    It will take a long time for Kauai to recover from their self imposed restrictions. Expect further economic distress and business failure because of Kawakami’s inability to implement successful solutions such as they have on the Big Island.


    1. Da Shadow March 6, 2021 12:57 pm Reply

      Our Supreme Leader cares not for economic distress. -Did you ever see his wife’s tone-deaf social media post, showing off her fancy handbag?

      the Rich Elite on this island want it for themselves, no one else.


    2. Kara Thrace March 6, 2021 1:04 pm Reply

      He requested a pre and post arrival test when Safe Travels was implemented and his request was denied by Gov. Ige (the same protocol currently used on Big Island). As soon as Big Island switched mayors, their new leader opted back into Safe Travels under a pre and post test stipulation and was approved after Kauai opted out.


  2. White privilege March 6, 2021 2:53 pm Reply

    Kawakami did an outstanding job keeping kauaiians safe during this pandemic..
    Buissinesses that cater to the locals and the tourists were surviving, those that strictly cater to only tourists were having a tougher time. TO BAD, SO SAD.. HAHA LOL


    1. tourist industry March 7, 2021 4:01 am Reply

      you’re the kind of guy who’d laugh at someone who’s been injured in a car wreck.
      the sad thing is your hatred for those of us who work for a living -working in tourism-related businesses.
      how shameful of you, enjoying the suffering of your fellow Kauaians.


  3. Robyn Machney March 6, 2021 3:05 pm Reply

    This doesn’t mention interisland travel– sounds like travelers from other islands still need to take a test 72 hours prior to visiting Kauai?


  4. Am owens March 6, 2021 3:29 pm Reply

    Kamakazi managed to obliterate Kauai. At least he has finally awakened to the real world and recovery for Kauai is a long way off.


  5. Mark Spencer March 6, 2021 5:34 pm Reply

    So once again I ask the mayor, what is the number of acceptable new cases of Covid-19 going to be before he once again shuts down the entire island. The breaking news header over this article stats 2 new cases confirmed on Kauai. So if that number reaches say, I don’t know, say 10 new cases by next week will the mayor pull the plug and shut’er down again? It’s kind of really important to hear from the mayor exactly what the number is. If mom and pop spend what little the have left to re-open April 6th only to be forced to close down again at the whim of a politician, all hell is going to break loose on Kauai. People are going to pay for air fair ( which interesting enough spiked 2weeks ago right before the mayors change of hart on the re-opening date) people are going to make hotel reservations and car rental arrangements and all the other vacation stuff we do to prepare for a vacation,. If all the time and effort and money should once again be suddenly and foolish canceled again, the damage to Kauai’s tourism industry will take years to recover. What is the number Mr. Mayor? Your constraints, your neighbors and friends need to know.


  6. I saw a Vampire once March 6, 2021 6:02 pm Reply

    The state’s is a tier 2 or tier 3 level. If you wanted a party of 100, you may, but that would be the limit. But we have that some business around the island are starting off with Luua’s and they are hitting this up to any amount of guest in one location. I haven’t got the real numbers on Starlight Luau on Oahu. They had their first show in 1 year. But from the sound of it, it was pretty dark packed. My guess it came out to be 300 plus in one location. Waikiki. Kaua’i is the same tier. They are slowly opening things up. Restaurants are up to 100%. So that’s good. What about a thing called virus? I don’t know.


  7. Jay Williamson March 6, 2021 6:19 pm Reply

    People seem slow to acknowledge that being vaccinated does not mean that a vaccinated person cannot transmit the virus. For example, a vaccinated person tests negative in San Francisco and let’s say he or she tests negative again upon arrival on Kauai. Then later that same person touches a metal railing which was recently contaminated by an asymptomatic person. Now the vaccinated person has become a virus carrier (spreader). The point is to continue with the safe practice guidelines: social distancing, mask, and clean hands.


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