READY, SET, MAUI!
Traveling to Hawai’i takes planning even in the best of times, so to help give our guests a leg up, we’re sharing a little of what we’re seeing here locally, along with tips and links to get you started.
The first thing you need to know is that only through the Pre-Travel Testing Program can visitors avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine...
HAWAI‘I'S PRE-TRAVEL TESTING PROGRAM
Hawai‘i's Pre-Travel Testing Program began on October 15th, giving travellers the option to avoid the state's 14-day quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.
For a negative COVID-19 test result to meet the Pre-Travel Testing Program criteria, the test: 1) must have been administered within 72 hours prior to departure, and 2) it must be a state-approved test. Antibody or antigen tests, for example, will not be accepted.
And as of November 24, all travelers must now have a negative test result BEFORE beginning the final leg of their trip to Hawaiʻi. Anyone without a negative test result prior to departure must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Detailed information about the testing and reporting protocols, along with a list of the state's testing partners, can be found at both the Hawai'i Department of Health and Hawai'i Tourism Authority websites.
Some airlines are providing pre-travel testing services of their own, so please inquire directly with your preferred carrier about their availability.
Those who cannot provide proof of a negative test result will be required to go into quarantine for 14 days. The Nāpili Village Hotel is not a designated quarantine location, and we are unable to accommodate any guests who do not meet the Pre-Travel Testing Program criteria. A list of such accommodations can be found at the Maui County's website.
NOW MIGHT BE THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MAUI
If you’re in good health and have the means to travel, then there’s perhaps no better time to vacation in Maui. Sure, nightclubs and concert halls remain closed. But most restaurants are open, even for in-door dining. And the beaches, parks, and hiking trails (you know, the cool stuff) are more pristine and empty than ever!
Hawaiʻi continues to see some of the lowest infection rates in the nation. Community spread caused a small uptick in cases over the summer (peaking with a 7-day average of 10 cases/day for Maui), and investments have since been made to improve the state’s contact tracing program and its outreach to the most vulnerable populations.
Maui’s economy has taken a big hit. The visitor industry employs a lot of people and keeps many of our small businesses afloat. And while we’ll admit that it was nice to have our island home to ourselves for a few months, we know that it can only last for a short while. So if you have the means to do so, visit Maui, show aloha, support local businesses, tip a little extra if you can, and share in all the things that we all love about this special place.
For the latest data on COVID-19, visit Hawaiʻi’s Department of Health website, and note that the data are broken out by county. Maui County includes the islands of Maui, Lānaʻi, and Molokaʻi.
And for ideas on things to do, see, and eat, Go Hawaii is a great place to start!
BOOK WITH PEACE OF MIND
Even with the most careful of planning, it’s impossible to fully know what the future holds. Most airlines have done away with change fees. Hawaiian Airlines, for example, is waiving change fees for tickets purchased between now and December 31, 2020. Be sure to check with you preferred air carrier.
And here at Nāpili Village Hotel, if your arrival is delayed due to a lag in testing results, you won’t be charged for any nights missed. If you are suddenly unable travel due to a positive COVID-19 test result, your deposit will be refunded in full.
NERVOUS ABOUT AIR TRAVEL?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses don't spread easily on flights.” There’s plenty of evidence out there which suggests that the risk of in-flight COVID-19 transmission is very low...so long as everyone on board is wearing masks!
For starters, the air quality on a commercial airliner is actually quite high, with the air volume in the cabin being completely refreshed every two to four minutes. Air flows into the cabin vertically — it enters from overhead vents and is sent downward in a circular motion, exiting at floor level. Once air leaves the cabin, about half is dumped outside, and the rest is sent through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, similar to those used in hospitals, before being mixed with fresh outside air and entering the cabin again.
That’s not to say that the risk of transmission is zero. There are a few studies that have documented cases of in-flight transmission on three international flights, all of which were over 10 hours in length. So do your homework, gauge your level of comfort, and then plan and prepare accordingly.
For additional COVID-19 travel tips, check out this article from Kayak.
MASK-WEARING ON MAUI
By law, on Maui, anyone over the age of 5 must mask up when in public. In stores and businesses, everyone is wearing masks. The same goes when walking through busier neighborhoods, in shopping centers, and on hotel and resort properties. Masks are not required when dining in a restaurant, swimming, or exercising outdoors. And in parks and on beaches and trails, mask-wearing is practiced when in proximity to others (while walking to and from one’s car, for example). So always keep one with you, even at the beach!
The thing about Hawaiʻi that long-time visitors probably know is that there’s a strong "we're-in-this-together" streak that runs through our local culture. It’s rooted in the Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander value systems that prioritize family and community well-being. This may help explain why mask-wearing and social-distancing are not controversial issues. It's widely practiced, and it's important that visitors do the same.
Regular updates to Maui County's COVID-19 rules and guidelines can be found here.