It's about to get a little more complicated to escape the U.S. mainland for Maui.
Later this month, Maui officials plan to add a step to the island's entry requirements for travelers on trans-Pacific routes, including from the mainland. Visitors can expect to take a second COVID-19 test on arrival at Maui's Kahului Airport or face a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
The government plans to cover the costs of the COVID-19 tests taken by travelers arriving on Maui. "The county is willing to cover the cost to make sure returning visitors and residents are tested and safe," Maui Mayor Michael Victorino told Maui Now.
Meanwhile, Kauai is taking a different approach to secondary testing for inbound travelers. Hawaii's Garden Island recently launched a travel discount program that it hopes will encourage visitors to take an additional COVID-19 test while boosting local businesses. Travelers who take an additional test in Kauai will receive the Kokua Kauai Card, which uses a QR code to provide discounts at dozens of hotels, restaurants, and more on the island.
Hawaii already requires travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before visiting the state. And while a vaccine passport is on the horizon, concrete plans have yet to be announced. For now, all travelers must take a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from one of the state's approved COVID-19 testing partners within 72 hours of their departure or face a mandatory quarantine upon arrival in the Aloha State.
Travelers to Hawaii also need to register with state health officials and upload their test results. Maui government officials suggest completing all documentation at least 24 hours before landing.
Hawaii has so far reported more than 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 470 deaths, according to data from the state's Department of Health. Nearly 3,000 of the state's confirmed coronavirus cases were on Maui. Kauai, which has been slower to loosen its pandemic restrictions compared to its neighbors, has reported just under 200 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
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