On October 15, Hawai‘i welcomed over 8,000 travelers on the first day of its pre-travel testing program. This new program allows U.S. trans-Pacific travelers to avoid a 14-day quarantine if they receive a negative COVID-19 test from a trusted testing partner 72 hours prior to their flight to Hawai‘i. All counties in Hawai‘i are participating in this program, though Hawai‘i County requires a post-travel test to be taken at the airport and Kaua‘i and Maui County have optional post-travel testing. The state is planning to conduct surveillance testing of passengers 72 hours after arrival to check if asymptomatic carriers are passing through the pre-travel testing program.

In addition to trans-Pacific travel, Kaua‘i and Maui counties are implementing a pre-travel testing program for inter-island travelers. Hawai‘i County still requires a 14-day quarantine for arriving inter-island travelers, while O‘ahu does not require a quarantine for inter-island arrivals.

While we believe that the counties should be able to enact rules that meet the needs of their community, the variation in rules and restrictions can be very confusing. To help residents and visitors understand the differences and comply with the law, we compiled an overview of county-specific guidelines. These rules are important to keep both residents and visitors safe, in addition to preventative measures such as hand washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing.

Hawai‘i CountyMaui CountyCity and County of HonoluluKaua‘i County
Face CoveringsRequired at indoor public settings and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.Required in public spaces.Required at indoor public settings and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.Required at indoor public settings and outdoors when distancing from non-household members is not possible.
Gathering SizeUp to 10 people.Up to 10 people.Up to 5 people.Indoor: Up to 10 people.
Outdoor: Up to 25 people.
Inter-island Travel (for travel to the county)14-day quarantine mandatory.No 14-day quarantine with negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure.

No quarantine for inter-county travel (i.e. from Molokai to Maui).

No 14-day quarantine when arriving from neighbor islands.No 14-day quarantine with negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure.
Trans-Pacific (U.S.) TravelNo quarantine with negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure and upon arrival.No 14-day quarantine with negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure. Optional post-travel test.No 14-day quarantine with negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure.No 14-day quarantine with negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure. Optional post-travel test.

Starting this month, our Public Health Action webinars will be transitioning to a monthly schedule. You can watch our October webinar with Hawai‘i Data Collaborative and the City and County of Honolulu on how data is used to inform re-opening decisions and how it relates to Honolulu’s tiered reopening system. Our next Public Health Action Webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 18 from 1 – 2 PM and will feature COVID-19 success stories from our communities. Registration information will be included in our next COVID-19 email.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
It’s been over 30 weeks since the first Stay-at-Home order was announced, and many unemployed workers may have exhausted their 26 weeks of benefits. The PEUC program provides up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits until December 31, 2020. The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has posted instructions on how to apply.

Need-to-Know Travel Information

  • All travelers must fill out the Safe Travels Form, regardless of if they are participating in the pre-travel testing program.
  • If you are participating in the pre-travel testing program, only COVID-19 test results from trusted testing partners will be accepted. The results should be uploaded to your Safe Travels form.

City and County of Honolulu
O‘ahu is on track to transition to Tier 2 of its re-opening strategy on Thursday, October 21 if its COVID-19 positivity rate stays below 5% and average case count below 100. Tier 2 will allow groups of five from different households to dine at restaurants, personal care services to resume, short-term rentals to operate, and gyms to open at 25% capacity, and more.

The City has acquired additional COVID-19 quarantine facilities for O‘ahu residents that are unable to self-isolate at home after contracting or being exposed to COVID-19. Over 450 rooms have been secured. To seek accommodations in a quarantine hotel room, call the Hawai‘i CARES line at 832-3100.

Hawai‘i County
Hawai‘i County requires a 2-step testing program for trans-Pacific travelers to skip the 14-day quarantine. The first test must be taken 72 hours prior to departure at the cost of the traveler, while the second test is administered at the airport and covered by the county. There is no pre-travel testing program for inter-island travelers; incoming arrivals are still required to complete a 14-day quarantine. Click here for more information about travel to Hawai‘i County.

Maui County
Maui County has adopted a 4-tier COVID-19 management plan and is currently operating at the least restrictive phase: Recovery. The tiers are based on average daily case counts and test positivity rates.

Trans-Pacific and inter-island travelers can avoid a 14-day quarantine if they complete a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure from a trusted testing partner. More details about Maui’s travel information can be found here.

Kaua‘i County
Last week, Kaua‘i County announced a 4-tier system which bases the county’s COVID-19 response on the average case count and positivity rate. Kaua‘i is currently operating at tier 4, the least restrictive. It will continue operating at this tier unless the county’s case count and/or positivity rate exceed the set metrics.

Post-Travel Testing for Trans-Pacific Travelers
Kaua‘i is encouraging returning residents and visitors that participate in the pre-travel testing program to voluntarily take a second test 72 hours after arrival.

SAFE TRAVELS QUICK FACTSsampleConfused about all the new travel rules? This helpful chart will help travelers quickly determine what rules apply to their travel itinerary.

Free Grab-and-Go school meals are now available at 203 public schools through December 18. Children ages 18 and younger can receive free meals regardless of if they are enrolled at the distribution site, are public school students, or eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. Meals at other schools will be distributed on normal serving schedules and pricing rates.

sampleHave SNAP-EBT and a DA BUX Access Card? DA BUX now offers 50% discounts up to $50 per day (up from $20/day). Discounts now apply to local ground beef  and eggs, in addition to fruits, and veggies! These special promotions expire December 29, 2020.


As the end of October approaches, here are some tips for having a safe Halloween! The Department of Health is advising families to avoid traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating in order to avoid close contact with others and crowding. Instead, low-risk Halloween celebrations could include contactless trick-or-treating with pre-made individual treat bags, drive-thru pumpkin patches, virtual scary movie watch parties, or virtual costume contests. If choosing to trick-or-treat, be sure to wear a protective face covering with no holes, avoid direct contact with other trick-or-treaters, and use hand sanitizer.

The Department of Human Services is encouraging residents who have lost health insurance coverage during the pandemic to apply for state-sponsored Med-QUEST. The federal government has also announced a special enrollment period for federally subsidized health insurance from the federal marketplace. The state and federal enrollment systems are linked, meaning applicants will automatically be referred to whichever program they are eligible for. Information on income requirements for both programs can be found at humanservices.hawaii.gov.

AARP Hawai’i is hosting a virtual 1-hour long concert on October 30 from 6 – 7:15 PM to help teach the public about resources to provide access to food for kūpuna in need. Attendees will be entered in a raffle to win a $100 gift certificate to purchase locally grown food. Learn more and register here.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Farm to Food program funds nonprofits to buy and distribute locally grown meats and produce, giving locally-sourced meals to residents and opening new markets for local farmers. Find participating partners and more information here.

Nonprofits and businesses can apply for one-time reimbursements for COVID-19 safety precaution implementation costs through the Culture and Arts Relief program. Organizations working in the culture and arts industry can qualify for one of the two different grants funded by the programs – Mālamalama and Hoʻōla. The program will provide grants up to either $10,000 or $50,000 depending on the organization’s eligibility. The Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts has released video tutorials on how to apply for the grant.

O‘ahu SNAP users now have two more options to redeem their benefits! Farm Link Hawai‘i allows SNAP recipients to order fresh, local produce in advance to have delivered to their home, or picked up from either Big Tree Farm in Hale‘iwa or Farm Link Food Hub in Kalihi. Farm Link Hawai‘i also participates in the DA BUX program, meaning SNAP recipients receive 50% off when ordering fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, eggs, ground beef, or cornmeal. Walmart is now accepting SNAP for curbside pickup at Pearl City and Kapolei locations, as well as for delivery for a fee. Recipients can order online and use their EBT card at checkout.

The County of Kaua‘i is using CARES Act funds to provide weekly food distributions to individuals and families who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each week, households are able to request service from the program though an application process and supply documentation indicating their current economic need. After submitting, applicants will receive an email back within 48 hours indicating whether they were approved or disapproved for the program that week. Apply here.

If you have any resources or updates we should include in our next bi-weekly email or website, feel free to contact us at covidresponse@hiphi.org.