The state of Hawaii will open once again to nonessential travelers.
That may be an odd statement considering it never technically closed. But on August 23, Governor David Ige made a very public plea asking would-be vacationers to stay away because of the state's spiking Covid-19 rates.
This week's announcement was a happier one. "I think we are all encouraged by what we’ve seen over the last several weeks with the continuing trend of lower case counts," said Governor Ige. "Our hospitals are doing better, and we have fewer Covid patients in them. Most importantly, our health care system has responded, and we have the ability to move forward with economic recovery. Because of this, it is now safe for fully vaccinated residents and visitors to resume nonessential travel to and within the State of Hawaii."
Ige set November 1 as the date his state will have the welcome leis ready once again.
That being said, there will still be Covid-19 protocols in place for visitors. Everyone will still have to fill out the state's Safe Travels form before headling to the islands, and visitors will have to show either proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours to avoid quarantine upon arrival. Other protocols vary by island and even by hotel (some properties are requiring proof of vaccination).
It's interesting timing. Hawaii, which saw a dip in arrivals and future bookings after Ige's initial announcement, is now positioned to be a good choice for holiday travel.
In normal years, high demand makes mid-October an iffy time to plan a Christmas trip to the islands. But not this year. This year, the end-of-year deals might be strong.