COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Statement                                                                                                  
Please read this entire post carefully and check our website before your trip for updates
December 1, 2021
There are four distinct sections of this post that are MUST READS for anyone thinking of visiting Hawaii in the near future. We believe we provide one of the best overviews that can be found anywhere, so that you can make the best decisions for you and yours…
(1) LINKS TO THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW
(2) NEWS YOU CAN USE RIGHT NOW
(3) GENERAL INFORMATION
(4) CURRENT RULES & REGULATIONS FOR VISITING HAWAII (subject to change at any time)
(5) HAWAII “SAFE TRAVELS” PROGRAM OVERVIEW (direct link to the source)


 LINKS TO VISIT RIGHT NOW

Oahu Covid rules and regulations
Big Island Covid rules and regulations
Maui Covid rules and regulations

 Safe Travels video
•  Safe Travels Hawaii Program
•  Hawaii Attorney General’s Quarantine Exemption details


NEWS YOU CAN USE RIGHT NOW (Sourced on Dec. 1)

It’s unclear what is going to happen in Hawaii if the new variant continue to proliferate. We were anticipating some slowdown in Hawaii travel when international travel resumed, especially commencing Spring 2022. Plans for a fast rebound of international travel, however, now looks unlikely.

What is likely is that travelers and the airline carriers appear ready to retrench, and move their focus from international to domestic leisure travel, which could mean a another boon for Hawaii travel.

In Hawaii, domestic travel is moving swiftly toward to pre-COVID levels, aided by the Nov. 1 edict from the governor telling visitors to resume Hawaii vacations. December 1 marks the relaxation of COVID rules statewide. As of Dec. 1, many statewide regulations have been dropped, and each island has established its own rules. Not necessarily the best way to deal with the issue, but what we’ve come to expect in the Aloha state.

Regarding the Omicron variant… Governor Ige said: “Hawaii has a robust surveillance system. Our State Laboratories Division has the capacity to conduct whole genomic sequencing to detect variants. We have not seen the omicron variant here in Hawaii as of this morning (Nov. 30), but we are closely monitoring the situation and will identify the variant as early as possible should it show up here.”

Hawaii travel remains relatively easy and somewhat predictable in spite of the cumbersome Safe Travels rules, which provide an exemption to quarantine with either vaccination or 72-hour testing, per strict requirements.

Throughout the pandemic, Hawaii has generally had the lowest infection rates in the nation, according to the CDC.


NEW RULES GOING INTO EFFECT DECEMBER 1

Statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants have ended, as the governor repealed his executive order that sets restrictions. In Honolulu, there will be no capacity restrictions on businesses. Maui’s mayor is still reviewing restriction changes. And today, Kauai announced new rules.

On Kauai: Beginning December 1, events and social gatherings can grow in size. These will now be permitted up to 100 persons outdoors or 40 persons indoors before special testing or vaccination requirements. Larger events will need to have an event coordinator to verify vaccination or testing within 24-hours. The county will no longer monitor those events.

Since each island can make its own rules, you can check the Oahu rules found here, Maui rules found here, and Big Island rules are found here.

Safe Travels and mask mandates remain intact. And be sure to carry your vaccination card with you at all times.


SO… WHAT SHOULD YOU DO and WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?

We cannot suggest what may be your best course of action in terms of visiting. If you are not vaccinated, to be fair to all, stay home and stay safe. If you are not exceptionally healthy, you are also probably best served by remaining at home. For those who are extremely healthy, fully vaccinated, and carry your proof of vaccination, making the trip is a reasonably safe bet, especially for golfers, who spend so much time out on the links. No one is trying to puncture your veil of privacy by asking for a vaccination card, which does not disclose your general health issues.

Should you choose to visit Hawaii, you will find a more limited number of restaurants open and still doing business, and the service will be much slower than expected (or in the past). Proof of vaccination may be required to dine in at some restaurants. Business establishments  may continue to have shorter hours and masks must be worn indoors. Lodging in condo/villa accommodations are probably even safer than hotels. Rental car agencies will still be pricey, and hard to come by, due to a shortage of vehicles (that were sold off during the pandemic), and the shortage of computer chips used to manufacture new vehicles. Lastly, Hawaii air carriers should be the most value-driven part of the overall Hawaii experience, as competition and rebounding from the pandemic continues.


GENERAL INFORMATION
For almost three decades, HawaiiGolfDeals.com has endeavored to provide outstanding value and comprehensive information for those intrigued by a Hawaii golf vacation. However, due to the Covid-19 crisis, we are hard-pressed to do what we do best. Hawaii—its golf courses, accommodations, car rental agencies, restaurants and tourist attractions—has been hit hard by the pandemic. For all intents and purposes, the state was closed for the last three quarters of 2020.

The fact that each airline, rental car agency, accommodation & golf course also creates its own rules and regulations, in accord with municipal and state regulations, make keeping up with it all much more demanding.

BE ADVISED: We will continue to offer quotes and bookings for vacation packages for 2022, which must include two basic travel elements (air/vehicle/lodging, or air/vehicle, or air/lodging, or lodging/vehicle). The Big Island or Oahu GOLFHAWAIICARD or our Insider’s Guide to Maui Golf will always be included. Click here to get a vacation package quote. However, we can no longer quote or book vehicle-only due to current market conditions (see below)

Here are some sub-categories that you can and should review for informational purposes…

GOLF & GOLF COURSES
There have been two types of course closures in Hawaii during the past year. Upon information, two courses—Koolau GC on Oahu & Volcano GC on The Big Island—have shuttered permanently. We also know that Puakea GC on Kauai and Kahili GC on Maui continue to be closed indefinitely. The other course closures are generally found at multi-course resorts, where operators have decided to open only one course at a time rather than two, in the interest of cost efficiency. Waikoloa Resort has become a 27-hole golf facility.

There are also various new rules and regulations at courses regarding Covid-19 testing, presenting credentials, cart sharing and restricted operating hours. While making a tee time is now possible on very short notice, there is absolutely no reason to make a tee time more than a couple of weeks out. Even as little as a day or two before is generally just fine. What is most important is to call and inquire as to best rates, specials, new rules and revised hours of operation. 

VEHICLE-ONLY RENTALS
Hawaii’s rental agencies returned more than 30,000 vehicles (40% of the fleet) to the mainland during the middle of 2020. Most were sold to private parties. This means there are far fewer available vehicles in Hawaii and everywhere else. Accordingly, the price has gone way up. Our rates more than doubled, so we are not offering vehicles as a stand-alone offering at this time. There are better rates out there right now that we cannot compete with and we urge you to shop around. But be prepared for serious sticker shock wherever you are renting a vehicle.

Your best value will be full-size, premium and certain SUVs, not the small vehicles that are not well suited for golfers. The best online rate we’ve been able to find is about $550-$600 per-week, inclusive of taxes/fees/surcharges. We advise you shop early and reserve a vehicle with no prepayment. Then, shop it out every couple of weeks and react to the best deal. We suggest examining AutoSlash.com, Priceline, Hotwire and Orbitz, where we see some of the slightly better deals. CostcoTravel.com has resumed Hawaii vehicle rentals, so be sure to check there. We can still include vehicles at competitive pricing within our complete packages and land packages. 


CURRENT RULES & REGULATIONS FOR VISITING HAWAII (subject to change at any time)
Since Hawaii officially reopened to visitors, the rules that apply to arrivals remain in a state of flux, which, to say the least, is challenging when planning a Hawaii golf adventure. This is the latest information culled from various sources. That being said, this is only a guide, which is intended to be helpful and not the final word. Therefore, due to the nature and scope of the pandemic, we cannot be responsible for any changes or misrepresentations.

Documentation process updated
Upload one of three vaccination documents to your Safe Travels Hawaii account before traveling to Hawaii. Effective July 1, the state confirms that the “Safe Travels digital platform is now allowing vaccine document uploads for trips arriving in Hawai’i on July 8 and beyond.”

One of the following must be uploaded:
>  A CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
>  VAMS (Vaccination Administration Management System) printout
>  DOD DD Form 2766C

New legal attestations also required
To qualify for the exemption, visitors must “Sign the online legal attestations on Safe Travels Hawaii, confirming the uploaded documentation is true and accurate.”

A hard copy of vaccination documentation is also required
Visitors seeking the vaccination exemption must “bring a hard copy of their vaccination documentation to show screeners at the gate before boarding and/or upon arrival in Hawaii. Screeners will review/verify the vaccination documents, match photo IDs, name, and DOB, and confirm that the attestations are signed.

Additional notes
• There are special rules in place for children 5 and under & children 5 and over.
• Interisland travel (solely within the state of Hawaii) does NOT require either vaccination or testing.
• This program does NOT cover international travelers.

Travel to Hawaii if you have recovered from Covid-19

This subject is convoluted and, if you have recovered, but are not vaccinated, we suggest you call the county health department for the island(s) you will be visiting for their specific rules and regulations.


Click here to visit the…
HAWAII “SAFE TRAVELS” PROGRAM OVERVIEW