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Buyers: When Can You Resume Traveling from the Mainland to Hawaiʻi?

I have buyers who are chomping at the bit to return to Hawaiʻi and resume their property search in person. They are going to have to wait a little longer to make their flight reservations, as the Governor announced that the 14-day quarantine for arriving passengers has been extended through July 31, 2020.

Hula dancers at Kona airport

Prior to Covid-19, Hawaiian music and hula dancers greeted arriving passengers at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport

Updates on Quarantine and Other Current Covid-19 Restrictions in Hawaiʻi

From a practical standpoint, the recent extension of quarantine for arriving passengers means you could travel to the island, but would not be able to see homes with your agent until Day 15. Even if you arrive on July 31, you still have to quarantine the full 14 days; but if you arrived August 1 (assuming no further extension), you could tour property that day.

If you book a flight in July, you might have difficulty finding a place to stay. Most hotels are not taking reservations until August, and short term vacation rentals, previously banned from operating, are being allowed to open but only for guests not under quarantine.

If you do plan to come now and quarantine, you would stay in a hotel room for 14 days, then could move to a licensed short term vacation rental. And the Governorʻs 9th proclamation adds new measures intended to help enforcement, including establishing criminal liability for hosts of visitors who violate the quarantine, as well as the owners of cars that are rented to violators.

Hawaiian print masks

These tropical print cloth masks were purchased at the Island Gourmet Market at Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Once you get past quarantine, you will find you can now visit beaches and other tourist attractions, restaurants are beginning to open for eat-in dining, and personal services such as beauty salons and massage therapy are again allowed. However, be sure to have your masks, and practice social distancing.

Inter-island Travel for Hawaiʻi Residents Opens as of June 16, 2020

As a first step towards re-opening to travel and tourism, Hawaiʻi residents can travel inter-island without quarantine starting June 16th. The Covid-19 screening procedures for inter-island travelers will allow for airports to gradually implement the systems that could later be expanded to all arrivals. Those include a series of questions and temperature checks, and a form similar to the Agricultural Declaration Form arriving passengers already filled out.

Reopening to air travel

The Likely Scenarios for Opening to Hawaiʻi to Visitors Without Quarantine

Tourism generates around a quarter of economic activity statewide and provides an even higher percentage of jobs in many locations. Officials have to balance the economic benefit of opening to visitors with the reality that especially on the less populated neighbor islands, our health care system could be easily overwhelmed.

The plans being considered for large scale opening to out-of-state travelers sound a little like the restrictions for bringing your dog or cat to Hawaiʻi, which is a rabies-free state. In other words, you would be required to be tested to prove you were virus-free before getting on the airplane.

In the near term, the idea being floated is of reopening gradually to “safe travel corridors” between places with low infection rates. That might mean allow travel to residents of New Zealand and Japan before the Mainland U.S.  Or beginning with states like Alaska and Wyoming, rather than the states that bring the most visitors, like California.

Quarantine in style

Quarantine in style if you buy this Kohala Ranch home – Iʻll provision it for your arrival (MLS 639670)

In the meantime, we are continuing to see real estate being sold to Mainland buyers. In fact, if you buy one of my residential or condo listings, I would be happy to stock the refrigerator and pantry for you to ride out your 14-days of quarantine!

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