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Travel to Hawaii during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN logo CNN 4/20/2022 CNN staff
a body of water with Nā Pali Coast State Park in the background: Hawaii is like nowhere else in the United States © Shutterstock Hawaii is like nowhere else in the United States

If you're planning to travel to Hawaii, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, April 20, that it has asked the Department of Justice to appeal Monday's ruling by a federal judge that struck down the federal mask mandate for mass transportation. The DOJ filed the appeal early Wednesday evening.

"It is CDC's continuing assessment that at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health," the CDC said in a statement. "CDC will continue to monitor public health conditions to determine whether such an order remains necessary. CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC's legal authority to protect public health."

Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Americans have a "choice" as to whether they will wear a mask on an airplane following a court ruling banning the federal mask mandate on planes, trains and other public transportation.

Bottom line: As of 6:30 p.m. ET April 20, you are not required to wear a mask on public mass transit. However, this is a fluid situation. You should monitor news reports before you travel.

Hawaii dropped its statewide mask mandate for indoor settings at 11:59 p.m. March 25. The mandate came to an end the same day as Hawaii's Safe Travels program expired.

The basics

Starting March 26, visitors arriving from domestic points of origin no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a pre-travel negative test result to bypass a mandatory five-day quarantine.

The Safe Travels program applied only to domestic arrivals. International arrivals must still follow federal requirements (see below).

Hawaii's entry policy for international travelers aligns with the federal rules for air travelers that went effect on November 8, 2021, requiring international arrivals ages 18 and up to be fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test result.

Since December 6, all inbound international travelers 2 and older are required to test within one day of departure for the United States, regardless of vaccination status. This does not affect domestic travel.

What's on offer

Spectacular surfing, sandy beaches, traditional Pacific culture and rugged volcanoes await Hawaii visitors. Hawaii's geographical position and proud history make it unlike anywhere else in the United States.

Who can go

Fully vaccinated travelers are now allowed entry into the United States, including Hawaii.

As of November 8, unvaccinated travelers from abroad are no longer allowed, with very limited exceptions. Among those exceptions are unvaccinated children who are 17 and younger.

Americans are still allowed to travel to Hawaii, regardless of vaccination status.

What are the restrictions?

All restrictions on intercounty travel have been lifted, meaning no pre-travel testing or quarantining is needed for travel between the Hawaiian islands.

What's the Covid situation?

With more than 243,000 cases and almost 1,400 deaths reported as of April 20, Hawaii has seen relatively low Covid numbers compared with other US states. It has maintained some of the strictest travel measures of any state.

In January, Hawaii saw cases of Covid-19 soar to the highest levels of the pandemic with the spread of the Omicron variant. Those numbers have decreased dramatically since then.

What can visitors expect?

Statewide limits on social gatherings, restaurants, bars, gyms and other social establishments were lifted in December. All county-imposed restrictions have been lifted or are set to expire.

On the island of Oahu, the Safe Access O'ahu program, which required proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter businesses such as restaurants, bars and gyms, ended March 5.

Maui County updated its rules on February 21, lifting vaccination or testing requirements for indoor public spaces.

Hawaii also has a statewide Malama Hawaii initiative that encourages visitors to give back to the destination.

Useful links

CDC requirements for international air travel

Covid-19 State of Hawaii portal

Hawaii Trusted Travel Partners

Safe Travels Program

OneOahu.org

HawaiiGuide.com

Hawaii Covid-19 Travel News and Headlines

Our recent coverage

Find out about the woman who gave birth to a baby while flying to Hawaii -- she didn't even know she was pregnant!

What's it like traveling to Hawaii during the pandemic? Read about a recent experience here.

For vacation tips, have a look here. If you're a closet beach hater, here are some ideas of what you can do. Or have a look at the cats of Lana'i, where 600 of them are living their best life.

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