Starting on December 2, 2020, the island of Kauai will require all arriving passengers to quarantine for 14 days, even with a negative COVID-19 test. The policy is reasonable, yet still unfair in that it was enacted with such limited notice.
Kauai Will Require 14-Day Quarantine For All Arrivals
Kauai, known as the Garden Island, currently has only 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases. But as View from the Wing notes, it also has the fewest number of ICU beds in the state of Hawaii.
Erring on the side of caution, Kauai will will require all passengers arriving after midnight on December 2nd to quarantine for 14 days.
Governor David Ige approved the exception to Hawaii’s testing opt-out program:
I’ve approved Mayor Kawakami’s request to place a temporary moratorium on #Kauai‘s participation in the state’s pre-travel testing program. Effective 12/2 all transpacific and intercounty travelers are subject to the 14-day quarantine regardless of testing https://t.co/76nKT0c6W6
— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) November 28, 2020
I’m not going to make the argument today that Kauai must remain open because its economy is dependent upon tourism. That is for its residents and elected leaders to decide.
Nevertheless, the sudden change in rules throws the travel plans of hundreds, potentially thousands, into disarray. Many have put down deposits on vacation homes or pre-paid hotels and airfare. To totally roll back the testing opt-out program with five days notice, especially as a precautionary measure, strikes me as a foolish lack of foresight.
The issue spills over into the entire state. Because if an exception was approved for Kauai, it could quickly and easily be approved for neighbor islands or other cities as well. That undermines any confidence people have in booking a trip to Hawaii.
Once again, Hawaii finds itself as the flashpoint between conflicting priorities. It is not for me to say if the move by Kauai is the right one. But I do know that such a sudden and complete change in policy is unfair to those who have already paid for a trip to Hawaii and will further keep tourists away from Hawaii. And I guess that is the point…