Maui COVID-19 travel restrictions: What you need to know about requirements to visit this Hawaiian island

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Keeping up with the ever-changing entry requirements for Hawaii hasn’t been easy during the pandemic. But that hasn’t deterred throngs of tourists from forging ahead with travel plans, especially to the island of Maui.

Travelers to Hawaii already need to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter without facing a mandatory 10-day self-quarantine, but now, as TPG’s Summer Hull has reported,  Maui is taking a page from the big island’s playbook and adding an additional layer of testing. Travelers to Maui will soon be required to take a second COVID-19 test upon arrival, according to new public health guidelines.

Maui mayor Michael Victorino said the new rules were supposed to go into effect on April 9, according to Maui Now, but the requirement may not actually be official until the end of April, pending the implementation of the required systems and personnel.

While entry requirements for Maui (and beyond) continue to be a work in progress, here’s what we know right now, and what changes may be on the way.

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What you need to know if you’re traveling to Maui

In addition to following Hawaii’s strict entry test requirements (more on that below), completing the Safe Travels online application, and downloading the AlohaSafe Alert app, Maui will soon require a second COVID-19 test upon arrival.

“Beginning mid to late April, trans-Pacific travelers who arrive with a negative COVID-19 test result may also be required to take a second COVID-19 test, which would be administered and paid for by Maui County,” according to Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau Senior Director Jeffrey Eslinger.

Travelers will not have to pay out-of-pocket costs for the additional COVID-19 testing. Children under the age of 5 who are traveling with a parent or guardian who has tested negative for COVID-19 are exempt from quarantine and post-arrival testing.

Maui Now reports that the second test is “designed to determine if visitors and returning residents are contributing to an uptick in cases,” per Mayor Victorino. This comes on the heels of a rise in COVID-19 cases in Maui.

In addition to the processes outlined above, masks are required throughout Maui, with exceptions including when outdoors and physical distancing of six (6) feet from other individuals (who are not members of the same household/living unit/residence) can be maintained. Occupancy is limited to 30 percent of a facility’s maximum occupant load, and bars and restaurants have a 10 pm curfew.

What you need to know about traveling to Hawaii right now

As of October 2020, Hawaii’s Safe Travels program allows travelers to avoid a 10-day quarantine by presenting an approved COVID-19 negative test result by a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner taken no more than 72 hours before taking off on your flight to Hawaii.

If your pre-travel test results are not available when you initially arrive in Hawaii, you will need to quarantine at your accommodations until the test results are received. The test must be an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), performed using a nasal swab, with results from a CLIA-certified laboratory. Violators face a $5,000 fine, jail time of up to one year, or both.

Related: Opening America: State-by-state guide to coronavirus reopening

As with Maui, many islands have additional entry requirements, so be sure to check before booking. Those traveling directly to Kauai, for example, and staying at one of six “resort bubbles” have the option to test out of the mandatory quarantine after three days. The Island of Hawaii (Big Island) continues to randomly test at least 25% of inter-island passengers at the airport upon arrival. The good news is that Hawaiian lawmakers are discussing a bill that would standardize testing requirements across all islands.

Related: Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii right now

In addition to Hawaii’s strict testing policy, all travelers must register with the state’s Safe Travels program. Everyone is required to wear a mask when inside businesses and requested to wear a mask at all times in public spaces such as sidewalks, museums, attractions, parks and even the beach when physical distancing isn’t possible.

As TPG’s Richard Kerr reported on April 10, Gov. Ige has laid the foundation for vaccinated travelers to have the opportunity to avoid the mandatory 10-day quarantine (and thus also avoiding the rigorous testing process). We will keep you posted as updates are available.

Related: Hawaii governor lays foundation for vaccinated travelers to avoid quarantine

Bottom line

Traveling to Maui right now is possible if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops. That said, for many Americans, it remains the best vacation option while awaiting more international destinations to open their borders. Be sure to do your research ahead of time and know what is required for entry.

For more information: Visit the state of Hawaii’s travel requirements for visitors page and COVID-19 information page.

And, check out these related guides:

  • 26 Maui hotels you can book with points
  • The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles
  • How to get to Hawaii: Fly nonstop from 27 mainland U.S. cities
  • 9 Things to Do in Maui That Aren’t the Road to Hana

Photo courtesy of Hyatt Hana-Maui Resort

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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