Kaua‘i to End Resort Bubble Program Thursday
Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami issued an amended emergency rule that will end the county’s Resort Bubble program and move Kaua‘i County to Tier 5 on Thursday, July 8. That’s the same day that the the State of Hawai‘i eliminates its pre-travel testing/quarantine requirement for domestic travelers to Hawai‘i who have been fully vaccinated in the United States.
“As of Thursday, Tier 5 will allow gatherings of up to 75 people outdoors or 25 indoors,” said Mayor Kawakami. Kaua‘i restaurants, gyms, buses, and attractions will be able to operate at 75 percent capacity. Once Hawai‘i reaches 70 percent fully vaccinated, Kaua‘i will move to Tier 6 and eliminate all restrictions.
“The Resort Bubbles helped keep Kaua‘i 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 Kaua‘i safely without being locked in their rooms, and it enabled participating resorts to stay open during the difficult months of the pandemic,” said Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho. “Now that millions of Americans have been vaccinated, and Kaua‘i 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 Kaua‘i 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.
Once vaccines became available to all visitor industry and transportation employees, Kaua‘i health officials endorsed rejoining the Safe Travels pre-travel testing program in early April.
Beginning July 8, Trans-Pacific travelers to Hawai‘i 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 Hawai‘i. For more information on the state’s Safe Travels program, visit hawaiicovid19.com/travel.