The Hawaiian island of Kauai will rejoin the Aloha State’s Safe Travels program next month after temporarily opting out of the policy, which allows visitors to skip the mandatory quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 prior to arrival.
Travelers to Kauai will once again be allowed to roam the island in search of waterfalls and coral reefs when the island rejoins the program on April 5, Hawaii’s Gov. David Ige confirmed on Friday. The statewide testing program was first launched in October and requires visitors to get tested at a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory.
In December, Kauai temporarily opted out due to increasing COVID-19 cases before instituting a “resort bubble” system that would allow travelers to avoid quarantine if they tested negative before coming, stayed at an approved property, and tested negative for a second time more than 72 hours after arriving.
“The increased restrictions over the winter months helped [Kauai] safely balance travel with the health and safety of residents and visitors on the Garden Island,” Ige said in a statement.
Kauai’s Mayor Derek Kawakami said the restrictions were necessary since Kauai is a “rural community with limited resources.”
“Since that time, Kaua’i has built a robust vaccine distribution program,” Kawakami said. “By April, we will have offered vaccines to our hospitality industry and restaurant employees, and our healthcare workers, first responders and kupuna [grandparent, or ancestor] will have been fully vaccinated.”
Hawaii does not currently allow vaccinated travelers to skip the state’s testing protocols, but is looking into the concept for the future with the goal of developing a vaccine passport for visitors.
The state would not be alone in making exceptions to quarantine protocols for fully-vaccinated travelers as New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire have each waived restrictions for those who got the shot.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.