Hawaii Seems Likely To Delay Reopening Beyond September 1st

Hawaii is currently slated to reopen on September 1st. However, officials are indicating that date will be pushed back amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic as the number of cases continues to rise in the state.

Hawaiian Planes
A delayed reopening would mean more of Hawaiian’s jets will stay parked for longer. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Delaying the reopening

The rising number of cases on the island of Oahu has led Gov. David Ige to indicate it may push out the reopening for pre-testing arrivals beyond September 1st, according to a report in Hawaii News Now.

Oahu is the most populated island in Hawaii. The city of Honolulu is located on Oahu Island and is the largest international gateway in Hawaii. While Hawaii’s case numbers are relatively low compared to other states in the US, the status of the state as an island limits the state’s capability to handle overwhelmed hospitals.

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is one airline waiting for leisure travel to resume to Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images

What is the current Hawaii reopening plan?

The existing reopening plan for Hawaii would see the state allow tourists to visit the state without a quarantine requirement from September 1st. Inbound travelers will need a COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 72 hours of boarding their Hawaii flight. The test has to be Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, and the laboratory must be CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) certified.

Travelers who do not receive their results by the time of arrival in Hawaii will need to quarantine until they receive the test results. All travelers, regardless of age, will need to get a test before arrival at their own cost. There is no testing available at Hawaii airports, unlike some other international airports.

Hawaiian and American
To entirely avoid a quarantine requirement on arrival, passengers should receive their test results before boarding a flight to Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images

For people who violate the 14-day quarantine requirement, there could be fines up to $5,000 or else imprisonment of one year– either of which would ruin a vacation to the island getaway.

So…when will Hawaii reopen?

If Hawaii does push back its reopening date, it will likely be by at least a month into October. Delaying it by a month better allows airlines, hotels, and others in the tourism industry to better prepare to handle bookings and update their customers on requirements.

But, given the current trajectory of cases, there could be a further delay beyond this one– pushing the date into the fourth quarter. While that would be an awful situation for the state’s flagship premium leisure airline, Hawaiian Airlines, it would be a decision made by state officials in the interest of public health.

Hawaii Seems Likely To Delay Reopening Beyond September 1st
A delay will significantly impact Hawaii’s premium leisure airline. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

Even when the state does reopen, there will be other issues to contend with. For example, tourism numbers are quite depressed to their lowest levels in many years. The rebound is happening slowly, but surely. However, even with leisure travel being one of the best bets for airlines as seen through JetBlue and United’s leisure expansion, there are questions about whether or not passengers would be comfortable getting on board a longer five or six-hour flight from the West Coast to Hawaii, let alone the long-hauls out of Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, or Washington off to Hawaii.

When do you think Hawaii will reopen for tourists with pre-testing? Let us know in the comments!