July 7, 2021
Kauai Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami has issued an amended emergency rule that will end the Resort Bubble program and move Kauai County to Tier 5 on Thursday, July 8th, 2021.
Governor David Ige approved Mayor Kawakami’s Emergency Rule #19 Amendment #4 last week. The amended rule sets Thursday as the date for the County of Kauai to move to Tier 5 on the Kauai Business & Recreational Guidelines for COVID-19 chart, as the state reaches the previously announced milestone of 60 percent of residents fully vaccinated.
“As of Thursday, Tier 5 will allow gatherings of up to 75 people outdoors or 25 indoors,” said Mayor Kawakami. “Restaurants, gyms, buses, and attractions will be able to operate at 75 percent capacity. “Once Hawaii reaches 70 percent fully vaccinated, we will move to Tier 6 and eliminate all restrictions.”
Vaccination is free and available to everyone age 12 and older. Most clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies on Kauai now accept walk-ins without an appointment.
The amended emergency rule also ends the County’s Resort Bubble program on July 8th, the same day the State of Hawaii eliminates its pre-travel testing/quarantine requirement for domestic travelers to Hawaii who have been fully vaccinated in the United States.
“The Resort Bubbles program helped keep Kauai safe from community spread of COVID-19 by isolating travelers until they could take a post-arrival test, as recommended by the CDC,” said Mayor Kawakami. “Now that vaccine exceptions are going into effect, and our hotels are near capacity, the program is no longer necessary. Mahalo to all the resorts who participated in keeping our community safe and opening until vaccines became widely available.”
“The program allowed travelers to keep their rescheduled vacations to come to Kauai safely without being locked in their rooms, and it enabled participating resorts to stay open during the difficult months of the pandemic,” said Kauai Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho. “Now that millions of Americans have been vaccinated, and Kauai has a reputation as one of the safest places in the country, most of our properties have returned to near capacity.”
The Resort Bubble program was created after Kauai health officials found dozens of COVID-19 cases last fall in travelers who had a negative pre-travel test, then tested positive days after arriving. To prevent community spread, County officials opted out of the State’s pre-travel-only testing program in December 2020, then implemented the Resort Bubble program that mandated post-travel testing more than three days after arrival. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that unvaccinated travelers “get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel,” even if they test negative before their trip. Once vaccines became available to all visitor industry and transportation employees, Kauai health officials endorsed rejoining the Safe Travels pre-travel testing program in early April.
Beginning July 8, Trans-Pacific travelers to Hawaii can receive a quarantine exception by uploading their CDC-issued vaccination record card to the state’s Safe Travels Program website and having that card with them upon arrival in the State of Hawaii. For more information on the state’s Safe Travels program, visit hawaiicovid19.com/travel.