After months of flip-flopping on the reopening of tourism to Hawaii the state is finally set to accept visitors on October 15 2020. But this reopening date comes with its fair share of caveats and unknowns for which we will update you with along the way, beginning today.
Answers to Your Questions About Hawaii’s October 15th Reopening to Tourism and What Arrivals at Honolulu International Airport Need to Know
What Test Do You Need to Forgo Quarantine?
As of October 15th visitors will be able to avoid the current 2-week quarantine requirement with a valid COVID-19 negative test. According to the state, the COVID-19 test must meet the following requirements:
“The State of Hawaii will accept results from any FDA-authorized NAAT test (aka PCR test) processed by a CLIA certified laboratory that is taken no earlier than three days (72 hours) before your flight arrival date. Currently approved trusted testing partners are: CVS and Kaiser Permanente. Trusted testing partners are entities that understand exactly what the State requires in terms of this program. Additionally, the state will accept test results from other sources so long as they meet the testing parameters set forth by the DOH, which are an FDA-authorized NAAT test processed by a CLIA certified lab.”
It’s as simple as this – with a negative COVID-19 test you are free to enjoy the Hawaii like the locals do. Of course, you will still need to follow state mandates regarding physical distancing and wear face coverings when required to do so by local businesses – a small price to pay for your return to paradise!
What If You Can’t Get Test Results Back in 72 Hours?
In some states and provinces around the mainland you may have heard how it is challenging to get test results back within 72 hours. The airlines, who have a very serious vested interest in rebooting Hawaii tourism, are already taking action. At press, both United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are stepping up to provide travelers with COVID-19 tests prior to boarding.
United Airlines will offer rapid testing for passengers traveling to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) beginning October 15.
Hawaiian Airlines will offer drive-through testing near LAX and SFO international airports beginning October 19, with more testing locations coming soon in other major U.S. cities.
This is great news for anyone flying from California (connecting flights with CA layovers included). We fully expect other major airlines to offer their own testing programs in the days and weeks ahead. Contact your preferred airline prior to booking to check the availability (and cost) of rapid testing, should you not be able to get results from your own health practitioner.
Will the October 15th Date Stick?
This is the biggest question that everyone has. Since June we’ve all heard that the solution to forgo the 2-week quarantine would be implemented in the summer. First it was August, then September, so can you have faith that the October 15th date will stick? This time we’re 95% confident that it will. Why?
Because unlike with prior intended reopening dates, COVID-19 cases are not low. How does that reasoning make sense? Because despite the higher case count, the state is pushing forward with the reopening. What this move indicates, is that the state is conceding the fact that the economy can no longer sustain itself as is. People need to get back to work and earn a living to support themselves and their loved ones, especially the vulnerable.
The tourism shutdown was always a temporary solution and the state held on as long as feasible. Locking down any longer would have disastrous consequences. The October 15th reopening plan is the sustainable way forward until this whole mess is done and life returns (as it absolutely will) to normal.
Will the Hotels Be Open and Ready for You?
Not every hotel on the island will be open as of October 15th. It takes time for resort properties to institute health and safety procedures that not only meet, but exceed state mandates.
The good news, is that the number of visitors coming to Oahu (and the rest of Hawaii) will be limited through October and November, so you won’t have an issue finding a place to stay. There are also a wide number of reopening specials being offered by properties. Simply visit preferred hotel/resort websites for information on their reopening dates and can’t miss special rates!
Note: Vacation rentals (i.e. Airbnb) are still not permitted at this time.
What Will Honolulu Airport Be Like?
If this is your first time coming to Oahu, you can learn more about what Honolulu Airport is like right here. For the most part it’s business as usual, aside from the health and safety precautions and procedures (introduction of sanitizing stations, temperature checks, etc.) that you are by now accustomed to when it comes to major international airports and other gathering places.
How to Get from Honolulu Airport to Your Hotel?
This is one consideration to take seriously.
For one, shared shuttle services are no longer a preferred option for HNL transportation amid the health concern (and beyond). Uber and Lyft services should also be avoided given that drivers are random residents versus professional commercially licensed HNL transportation operators. City transit (TheBus) is another one to avoid for obvious reasons. What about car rentals from HNL? It took about 45-minutes to an hour to get to your car rental, wait in line, and deal with the paper work (including insurance up-sells) prior to this whole COVID-19 crisis. Renting a car from the airport now has become a LOT more time-consuming given the added safety measures and reduced number of car rental staff available to serve new arrivals.
There is only one option that will provide you with peace of mind during this uncertain time. A flat rate, direct, and private shuttle from HNL is the only way to go once the “doors” to Hawaii open up this October 15 2020. All we need from you is 24-hours notice and we’ll pick you and your party up from the airport and take you directly to your hotel in a clean, sanitized, and comfortable environment.
~ ALOHA ~