Visiting Hawaii? Here are the rules, island by island

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Hawaii lifted all statewide restrictions on weddings and other social gatherings, but each of the state's counties continue to put limits on the number of attendees.
Hawaii lifted all statewide restrictions on weddings and other social gatherings, but each of the state's counties continue to put limits on the number of attendees. Photo Credit: HTA/Mark Kushimi
Tovin Lapan
Tovin Lapan

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Gov. David Ige announced that starting Dec. 1 all statewide restrictions on social gatherings, gyms, bars and restaurants would be lifted. Additionally, the state is no longer requiring county governments to obtain state approval prior to enacting emergency rules, allowing mayors more flexibility to adjust emergency regulations.

However, a statewide indoor mask mandate and Hawaii's SafeTravels Program remain in effect. SafeTravels requires out-of-state travelers to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test no more than 72 hours prior to entering Hawaii or submit to a 10-day quarantine. 

"Hawaii continues to have amongst the lowest rates of infection and fatalities in the nation due to the Covid-19 pandemic," Ige said. "As we have seen an improvement and stabilization of the virus activity in our community, it really is a good time to pivot state coordination back to the counties."

Hawaii's current rate of 10 Covid-19 cases per day per 100,000 people is the third-lowest in the U.S., and 72% of the total population is fully vaccinated.

• Related: As visitors return, Hawaii's hoteliers hope for some stability

In conjunction with the governor's announcement, the county mayors have all eased Covid-19 rules, but the regulations within each county all differ in some way, and travelers to the Islands, especially those planning any type of event, should be sure to consult the specific restrictions for the county they are visiting.

Here's an up-to-date look at the regulations in place across the state and its four counties.  

Hawaii
Statewide, the SafeTravels Program remains in place through at least Jan. 28 under the current emergency order. Hawaii's mask mandate requires all persons to wear a mask while visiting indoor public spaces, with exceptions for when the person is eating or drinking, children under 2 years old and people with respiratory or other medical conditions.

Island of Hawaii
On Hawaii Island, often referred to as the Big Island, mayor Mitch Roth's latest decree prohibits indoor social gatherings of more than 25 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 100. Gatherings include festivals, concerts, parties, weddings and funerals. Special event requests with an accompanying Covid-19 mitigation plan are required for gatherings larger than the allowed limits, whether indoors or outside.

"There is still much uncertainty in how the virus will continue to mutate, and we encourage all our residents not to let their guard down," Roth said in a statement announcing the updated regulations. "So long as everyone follows the rules and remains mindful of their neighbors, we will be able to continue easing restrictions and reopen with a measured approach."

Kauai
Under mayor Derek Kawakami's latest order for the Garden Isle, social gathering limits have been increased to 40 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Events that exceed the limit require an event organizer who will ensure attendees are either fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 24 hours of the start of the event.

Event coordinators are no longer required to register event information with the county, but they remain responsible for gathering contact information for all event attendees in case there is a need for contact tracing.

Maui
Maui County includes the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai, and mayor Michael Victorino is lifting all outdoor restrictions as an expansion of the county's Safer Outdoors initiative.

Indoor, noncommercial social gatherings, on the other hand, are still limited to up to 10 people. Indoor commercial events planned for more than 75 participants require an exemption from the county.

"We are able to relax these restrictions because the people of Maui County have been mindful of the health and safety of others," Victorino said. "With our low positivity rate and the ability to conduct outdoor activities in a safe manner, we feel comfortable loosening these restrictions. At the same time, we are aware of the new omicron variant and are actively monitoring developments."

Oahu
All capacity limits and social-distancing requirements for large events and social gatherings have been lifted on the island. Large events without food-and-drink service may now operate with only a mask requirement. Events with food-and-drink service must follow the Safe Access Oahu rules, which require either proof of vaccination or a negative result for a Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of the event. A previous requirement for contact tracing has also been lifted.

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