Hawaii tightens rules for visitors to Kauai

Resorts claim status that lets visitors quarantine, but cases have been rising

Governor David Ige and Kauai Island (Getty; Unsplash)
Governor David Ige and Kauai Island (Getty; Unsplash)

Hawaiian state officials are tightening restrictions on travel to Kauai.

Nonessential visitors to the island will have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Rules are different for each of the Hawaiian islands, but generally travelers don’t have to quarantine if they have tested negative for Covid-19 before flying there.

Kauai counted 18 active cases as of Nov. 27, a pittance compared with other parts of the country. But the island is home to just 69,000 people, and 18 is twice as many cases as six weeks ago, when officials began allowing visitors to fly in with a negative test.

Governor David Ige said Kauai needed a new rule because the island has the fewest ICU beds of the state’s five counties.

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Several hotels on the lush island have recently claimed status as “bubble resorts,” which allows them to host people throughout their quarantine.

Visitors to those resorts must test negative in advance and can’t leave the establishments. They are subjected to another test after three or four days on the island.

Resorts in Hawaii, like hotels across the U.S., have seen business slow significantly throughout the pandemic, but some operators hope the bubble program will help.

Travelers, especially wealthy ones, have been lengthening stays, which is helping hotels and resorts get by.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami asked for the new rules and said they will allow the island community to keep businesses open and youth sports active “as we conduct surge testing and contact tracing.”

“I will gladly repeal the moratorium once we have the virus under control again,” he said. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch