We just got back from a mainland trip and have detailed our experience below. We share how to visit Maui (or return to Maui) with a step-by-step guide below, but there are also some new requirements that began May 4th and more on the 11th. See our Instagram notes below.
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- Steps to Visit Hawaii (our recent experience.)
- Is Coronavirus in Hawaii yet?
- How deadly is the coronavirus?
- How does the Coronavirus COVID-19 compare to other major global viruses?
- Coronavirus Symptoms and Prevention
- Do I have Coronavirus Covid-19?
- What’s new with Coronavirus in Hawaii?
How to get to Hawaii efficiently during COVID-19
Our Experience Last Week Coming Back to Maui, Hawaii
UPDATE FROM March 19th, 2021:
I recently had to go to both California and Florida for work (my first time off-island since COVID began.) Maybe because I was already freaked out about it, I did everything in my power to make it a seamless, easy travel experience. Now that I’ve done it, I want to share step by step how to visit Maui, Hawaii and hopefully cut down on your travel stress too (US residents only. International may require additional steps).
STEP #1: Prep for the test
There are many ways to get a test these days, but here’s the easiest sure-fire way to eliminate the need for quarantine. It’s 100% crucial that you’re tested by a trusted partner of the Hawaii’i Department of Health. Whether resident of Hawaii or a visitor, we suggest having the test sent to you by ModoMD. This is by far the easiest way to get tested while you travel. We dropped by the Four Seasons Wailea during their hours and picked up the testing kit before leaving for the mainland. If you’re a mainland visitor, MODO MD will mail the kit to you! You’ll self-administer the test over a Facetime or Zoom call, and then ship it out via FedEx to their approved lab in LA. Schedule your consultation for the first in the 72 hours before leaving on your final flight to Hawaii. You’ll need at least 24 hours for the results to arrive and be tested at the lab in LA. MODO MD will fill in most of the details for you if you get it in person. All travelers 5 years and older must take the COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to arrival.
STEP #2: Create an account with the State of Hawaii
Create an account, and fill in your trip details at Travel Safe Hawaii. Remember your user/pass. Every adult 18 or older must make an account for themselves. Minors can be added to their parent/guardian profile.
STEP #3: Download AlohaSafe COVID-19 exposure app
Download this app (which is required for Maui.)
STEP #4: Self-administer the COVID-19 Test and FedEx
72 hours before the final flight to Hawaii, make sure you have your telemedicine consult with MODO MD. Book the consult for when that 72 hours begins. You’ll give yourself the test (which is far less scary than I’d been led to believe), and then fill in the date and time on the sample and paperwork. They will walk you through the paperwork and make sure you get it done correctly.
Then take the sample and mail it via FedEx to the Los Angeles address provided on the paperwork (or specified by MODO MD). Make sure it gets there ASAP! Don’t snail mail this package. And for the next 72 hours, limit your exposure to only those traveling with you and are being tested as well (make sure they don’t see anyone either.)
STEP #5: Get Results and Submit them
You’ll get an email with the results. Submit the pdf results to Travel Safe Document Upload.
STEP #6: Health Questionnaire
Within 24 hours of your final flight to Hawaii, fill in the Travel Safe Questionnaire. Kill 2 birds and check-in for your flights too. Do this at the very beginning of the 24 hours.
STEP #7: QR Code and Final Steps
Once your COVID-19 test results have been verified as negative, you’ll get a QR code sent to you via email. This QR code will be used to get you either on the flight or out of the Kahului Airport (each adult has their own QR code.) Our friend recently arrived at OGG (Kahului Airport, Maui) and had to wait in a line for over an hour to show his QR code. When I got to my gate at LAX, there was an option to show my QR code before getting on the plane (Alaska Airlines) then gave me a wristband. Those with wristbands didn’t have to wait once arriving at OGG. My friend was flying Hawaiian Airlines and was never told to do it at the gate. If you aren’t offered this option, get to your gate a little early and ask about wristbands.
If you’ve been vaccinted and it’s been 14 days since your last dose, bring your hard-copy vaccine card to show at arrival. This makes you exempt from a 2nd post-arrival test. For more info, see our instagram post above.
If you depart to Hawaii without your test result uploaded, or as a paper copy, you will be required to complete a 10-day quarantine even if you receive your test result during your 10-day quarantine period. The state will no longer allow travelers to upload tests after departure to Hawaii. If you’re doing the 10-day quarantine, you’ll still need to register with the State of Hawaii and fill in daily check-ins.
UPDATE FROM March 1st, 2021:
” My husband got his first dose of Pfizer yesterday at the hospital. (At age 77, he’s in the 1b group.) I went with him just to make sure he didn’t chicken out and head to Starbucks instead….LOL! (He hates needles.) Anyway, it was all handled smoothly and efficiently. Everyone has to have an appointment, so it was very orderly and there was no chaos. Very short line and things moved quickly. Check-in outside the hospital lobby and provide id and insurance card; get your temperature checked. There is seating provided in a protected outdoor area, if you have to wait. Once you are directed to go inside the lobby (which has now been set up with several vaccination stations), there is another quick id and paperwork check, then you are directed to one of the vaccination tables where masked/gloved medical care workers are waiting for you. My husband said his shot was totally painless. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We were impressed with the staff at Maui Health. It was well organized. After his shot, he was required to sit in the lobby for 15 minutes before leaving—to make sure he didn’t have any kind of unexpected reaction to the vaccine that would require immediate medical assistance. My husband’s appointment time was 1:00 and we were done and heading to our car by 1:40 (and THEN to Starbucks — the adult version of a lollipop). Once we got home, we were able to immediately go onto the VAMS website to schedule his 2nd dose for 3 weeks from now. Easy breezy!”
Is coronavirus in Hawaii?
There have been 28,608 reported COVID-19 cases in Hawaii as of this publishing (2,564 in Maui County with 452 Hawaii deaths and 1,947 requiring hospitalization in the State). We’ll keep this updated as Hawaii Coronavirus News comes in. How likely is it that Hawaii will have more cases soon? Likely. We don’t think the numbers will go down till most people have either had it or been vaccinated.
How deadly is the coronavirus?
Thus far, the percentage of those that die from this deadly virus sits at 2-3%, which is low when compared to the many other devastating viruses we’ve seen in the last 53 years. From what we’re hearing, most of the deaths have been within the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and those with other health problems making them weaker targets. Keep in mind, this is an emerging disease, so these numbers will be changing as time progresses.
How does the Coronavirus compare to the flu? According to the New York Times, the flu has a fatality rate of 0.1% in the US (average over 20 years). That being said, the CDC says that between 9.3 and 45 million people get the flu in the US each year, and 12,000-61,000 people die from it. This virus kills far more people than the flu. Fact.
How does the Coronavirus COVID-19 compare to other major global viruses?
So far, the outbreak is the most serious in terms of how quickly and how many people have been infected (see video below). Due to a much lower fatality rate than these other deadly viruses, the Coronavirus has claimed a smaller percentage of lives.
Here are some global virus statistics to help compare COVID-19 with other major virus outbreaks over the past 53 years.
This video shares how quickly the Coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading exponentially. It’s a little old (March 8th, 2020), but it shows just how fast it’s spreading up until the publishing date. The math is pretty solid: x10 every 16 days (on average). WATCH THIS VIDEO TO THE END! AMAZING!
Coronavirus Prevention and Symptoms
Some prevention tips: Stay at home as much as possible and social distance. Don’t travel to any heavily affected countries, clean surfaces thoroughly with disinfectant, wash hands, keep your hands away from your face, use a face mask (but don’t hoard them), stay away from sick people, and stay healthy (eat well, get rest, exercise and take any supplements for what you might be missing in your diet.) Social Distancing is only smart. This will get worse before it gets better, so let’s sacrifice work and fun for a bit and cut off the spread of this infection!
Some common Coronavirus symptoms: Within the first 2 weeks, you may have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, or some difficulty breathing. This is pretty similar to any common flu. In the worst cases, congestion becomes heavy enough that you feel like you’re drowning. It’s pneumonia that seems to be the biggest danger.
Do I have coronavirus Covid-19?
If you feel sick with symptoms, and you’ve been around someone that might be infected, call your doctor. They’ll direct you to a safe place to be tested. If you’re sick and it’s worse than usual, call your doctor. It can cause respiratory illness, and many infected patients get pneumonia in both lungs. You’ll be tested, and depending on the results, you’ll either be quarantined or made to self-monitor. There are a number of vaccines being distributed in phases as of this publication date. (518,381 cumulative does administed in Hawaii.)
What’s new with Coronavirus in Hawaii?
- Oahu is phasing into the next openings. We should see more relaxed regulations and more businesses opening up.
- Vaccines are being administered across the islands.
What are your predictions for the future of Coronavirus in Hawaii as far as exposure, tourism, economy, treatment, and more?
As of March 1st, 2021 – DISCLAIMER: I’m not a fortune teller. These are just informed guesses, so take them as you’d like.
March 1st, 2021
Here are some updated thoughts on what we think will happen moving forward:
- As vaccines are made available, more restrictions will be loosened and lost. Visitors will come back this summer in full force. Cases will rise, but the vaccine will give many comfort.
- Visiting Hawaii will become easy, eventually.
- Many businesses will fold or be bought and consolidated here in Hawaii.
Our Dilemma (October 27th, 2020):
Should we continue to update this post with current statistics? Here’s what makes us believe that the numbers aren’t accurate:
- Each month, the fatality rate lessens. It was around 3% in early October. In late October, it’s at 2.65%. But keeping in mind that we’re having massive amounts of newly reported cases, it would make sense that the total amount would go down. People newly diagnosed have not died yet. There has been no outcome to record for those new cases.
- We have 45+ million cases confirmed around the world. How different is this virus from the common flu? Specifically, does this virus attack those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, or some other factor we haven’t figured out yet more than common viruses? You say yes. When the flu runs through our house, the kids get sick too. So, when reporting cases, is it possible that COVID-19 is underreported due to symptoms not being present in the young and healthy relative to other viruses? My point: access to testing and the symptomless skew reported cases massively relative to more commonly diagnosed viruses like the flu.
- Of those that have died, would they also have died from severe flu? Also, how much are the numbers being manipulated by those in power that are leveraging this to gain more control and spread fear (for good or bad) in order to stop the spread?
Hawaii is open again. We’re seeing a spike in Maui County, more so than other islands (mainly because Oahu has a large volume of new cases daily regardless of visitors coming back. Here are my predictions:
- Businesses are reopening and will continue to. Visitors are coming back at 1/2 their previous year’s numbers and will continue to. At some point, the government will deem the new spikes too dangerous and will shut everything down again. But this time, we’ll have COVID-19 cases widely spread, and it won’t really change things much. In my opinion, government officials making the rules should have their paychecks stopped when we all shut down. They should not be paid and they should be forced into stay at home. This might force planning and forethought beyond what has happened over the last 1/2 year+. If the State of Hawaii were run by an experienced CEO, the priority would be to protect employees and customers while RAPIDLY instilling a plan to continue operations as well as help the community. We’d be up and running within a month or two, finding new avenues of profit while keeping our citizens healthy, happy, and purposeful.
- COVID-19 is not going away. We need to realize that and change our behavior while developing new skills. We need funds to rapidly build new structures and systems to handle the upcoming surges for ICU. We need equipment, staff, and room to take care of those that will inevitably get sick. So far, this is not happening.
- More visitor frustration. There are reports of a number of visitors traveling across the planet only to be turned away once they hit our State or County airports due to unapproved testing facilities for their COVID-19 negative tests. A better system needs to be put in place. Visitors should be able to get testing before from any reputable facility near them, then retested after having reached the islands 3 days after the first test.
October 1st predictions:
- Tourism will actually reopen! We’ll see a specific kind of tourist arriving on Maui. We’ve heard that some hotels have a lot of reservations, though they’re still wary. Families with kids and the elderly are likely to stay home and not visit. Hawaii opening on October 15th will be a reality.
- Businesses reopen. Not all businesses will reopen, but some extra staff will be hired, and doors will open more readily. That being said, we think most businesses will be running lean on staff and doing everything that can to not fully open up until visitors’ numbers are confirmed and another surge of cases doesn’t happen.
- Surge. We’ll see COVID-19 cases pick up across the islands over the next few months.
- True Numbers. I believe, over the rest of the year, we’ll get a better idea of the fatality rate, and we’ll see that COVID-19 isn’t quite as dangerous as has been perceived in the media.
- Vaccine realized. A vaccine will prove effective, and those that travel to and from certain countries will be mandated immunization, as well as hospital workers, public school systems, and any other entities that the government has more control over. Most private schools will follow suit. After some time, we’ll find that it’s not as effective as we thought and/or the virus will mutate enough to make it potentially worthless.
- Long Term Problem. This is the first of modern-day pandemics. Whether COVID-19 mutates or we see new dangerous viruses, the world will need to learn from this and get better at preparing, treating, and distancing. Some countries had very low numbers because they have been through this before with epidemics in their countries. The world will need to get better at working remotely, canceling large gatherings, and quickly social distancing with masks.
August 27th predictions:
- My predictions are showing trends. Most of my predictions are correct. Not because I’m clairvoyant, but month-to-month, history is repeating itself. It’s getting easier to see how our local government will act and how the local community handles things.
- Tourism reopens… in early 2021. The way our local government is handling things, with little to no plan, we’re not going to see visitors entering the state again for months.
- Schools may reopen. Some schools may reopen, but if cases increase by 10+ each day on Maui, then we’ll continue distance learning, depending on the school. Every school is different, and we’ve heard some schools just can’t handle sufficient learning online. Some are doing it well.
- Hawaii businesses continue to die. Every day, I hear of a new business shutting its doors forever. This shutdown doesn’t just affect tourism. There are thousands of ancillary businesses that are realizing they depend on visitors as well.
July 28th predictions:
- In the next few days, Gov. Ige will push back opening up…again. Every month, the 14-day quarantine is extended for another month. There are a few reasons: US residents are by far the biggest group of visitors to Hawaii, and the mainland US is not handling the spread well. As soon as we’re officially open, we’ll be hit with a wave of cases in Hawaii like we haven’t seen. Another reason why we haven’t opened up yet is due to the 72-hour COVID-19 testing it would require. Getting test results back within 72 hours isn’t all that realistic at this point, in most States. We know a Maui resident that was in Florida helping his mother. He tried to get tested before coming back, and the State of Florida wouldn’t allow it due to his not being a resident.
- Tourism will comeback. But when? That’s the question we get asked hundreds of times each day. Until test results can be reliably received within 72 hours from every location in the US, and until there’s a drop in the steady growth of US cases, I don’t see it coming till early 2021. Travelers seem to be less worried about money than they are about safety. And with school starting again, and having not had in-house class for so long, it’s doubtful families will take the risk until the next break.
- Many Hawaii businesses will close forever. We’re seeing it and hearing about it every day. Businesses that professed not being tourism-reliant are realizing that they depended on it more than they thought. Plus, locals aren’t spending like they used to because there is no money. We’re seeing people move off-island, which will continue.
July 1st predictions:
- My May 19th predictions below still stand. Inter-island flights have opened up, tourism will begin again on August 1st, a second wave will hit (and already is happening on the mainland of the US), and we’re seeing Hawaii businesses close forever.
- Hawaii Tourism Marketing Backfire. In an attempt to jumpstart tourism across the islands, Gov. Ige’s administration wants to rebrand Hawaii as the “safest place on Earth.” This will work initially, then backfire with a new wave of illness in our State.
- Tourism will comeback. We’ll see places filled with visitors beginning August 1st. My worry is that we’ll get the wrong kind of visitors. Hopefully, visitors will understand that respecting residents’ space and health is paramount. I don’t think we’ll see the kind of numbers we’re used to seeing in August, but it’ll be a good start.
- Many Businesses will remain closed. With future visitor numbers in question, many businesses will remain closed, opting to keep their employees on unemployment until they know that hiring them back can be sustained.
May 19th predictions:
- With pressure, inter-island flights will open up without quarantine. It’s insane that we’re not able to travel between islands without quarantine. It’s one thing if a passenger is from out of State, but we’re doing pretty well here.
- End of July, Tourism begins again without quarantine. We’ll have strict checks in place before and after anyone gets off a plane, but we’ll start seeing visitors coming back. We won’t see the volume we’re used to in Summer, but it’ll still be strong, as so many have been cooped up and are over it.
- Cases will come back with a second wave. Once things approach “normal” again, we’ll see a second d wave of cases, and shutdowns will happen again. I don’t think it’ll be as aggressive as this first time, but it’ll cut down on spread as much as possible without destroying economies.
- Many Hawaii businesses will not survive. Almost all businesses are tourism-reliant here in Hawaii, whether directly or indirectly. We even heard that Mana Foods is hurting. Really? I was sure they survived off of the local community, but they made a lot of money from tourists too. Many businesses planned for a recession, though many hadn’t. Even for those that planned for a recession, they didn’t anticipate a complete shut down of business. Quite a few businesses survived and grew using money from future bookings. If they’re not already out of business, they will be. We’ll see a future of much more conservative operations and growth for surviving Hawaii businesses.
MAUI HOSPITAL UPDATE (early May): Our friend is an ER doctor and just said, “Overall Maui is doing better than I’d expected. But as a whole, our State is doing much better than I’d anticipated. For the most part, people are behaving like we’re all in this together and it’s having the desired effect. The community support for our healthcare workers has been really moving. Free coffee at Starbucks. Free “Thank you meal at McD’s. Humbowl Wagon came by our clinic to give us free acai bowls. Such an amazing thing! Honestly, it makes most of us get choked up on the gratitude and support the community is showing us.”
There’s also a major shortage or masks, gloves, and Clorox wipes. If you have these items, and you don’t need them all, please drop them off at the hospital. You may save lives!
April 28th predictions:
- Many US States will open up with loose restrictions. We’ll begin to see a return to normalcy, to a degree. Then we’ll begin seeing hot spots emerge again.
- More Testing – Increased testing will bring us more confirmed cases. We’ll begin to realize that a massive percentage of us have been infected and don’t know it. Antibodies will have formed and we’ll have a collective sigh of relief.
- Hawaii Lock Down – Our current stay-at-home policy and 14-day quarantine will loosen June 1st due to economic and social pressures. We’ll begin taking non-quarantine visitors from States with low-infection rates.
- Partial Collapse of Real Estate Market – We’re hearing a lot of AirBnB owner/managers grumbling that they’ve over-extended themselves. This is pretty common across the country, especially in Hawaii. Large corporations, as well as ambitious homeowners, have bought multiple properties for the purpose of renting them out at vacation rental rates while paying normal mortgage rates. This will bite them in the @$$! We’ll begin to see many homeowners default on their loans for this exact reason. Much like in 2008, we’ll see real estate take a big dip with a large inventory and few buyers.
April 14th predictions:
- The US will hit 1 million cases by the end of the month. I was off on my previous estimate. I expected more testing than have been implemented. We’re seeing a lot more, so more accurate numbers will come soon.
- Beaches closed – The County and State have threatened complete closure of beaches if residents didn’t keep their distance and continue to loiter in groups. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened.
- Increased shaming and hostility – Even though we’re legally allowed to get out into nature for exercise, hard-core quarantiners are shaming people on social media. This will get worse. If the ocean is closed off to swimming and board sports, people are going to legitimately freak out.
- Vaccine – A vaccine will be mandated, whether it works or not.
- Quarantine Exit – The quarantine rules across the world will begin loosening up by mid-June, and we’ll see a resurgence of the virus.
April 1st predictions:
- I’ll bet the official fatality rate will be closer to 9% when all is done. Keep in mind, many asymptomatic infected will never be tested. So in reality, it’s most likely far less.
- No more flights – There will be a point where you won’t be able to fly to and from the Hawaiian Islands unless it’s essential. Once we get a vaccine or the numbers start leveling off, this will change.
- Recovery – We’ll start seeing signs of recovery (less new daily cases in the US) by mid-June.
- Vaccine – A vaccine will come on the market in the next month. Whether it works on the majority vaccinated will remain to be seen, but hope and the economy will go up.
- The US will hit 1 million cases in the next 2 weeks. With increased testing, we’ll see a major jump. This virus will ultimately infect more people than H1N1 did (1.63million.) The fatality rate will go up with time, then go down with more testing.
- Travel and Renaissance – Later in the year, once things are under control for this first wave, we’ll see a flourish of travelers. Also, with how cooped up everyone is, we’ll see something akin to a renaissance across the world. Appreciation for social interaction will be higher than ever before. We’ll get another baby boom. We’ll also see innovation and the arts explode with productivity. I don’t know about you, but everyone I know is feeling pretty down and unmotivated. After the hospital surges, after recovery, we’ll see a surge of growth and life on this planet. My 2 cents.
March 23rd predictions:
- All flights to and from Hawaii will be stopped. It’s absolute madness that this hasn’t already occurred.
- Our hospitals will be full – The spread will move quickly.
- National Guard called in – I believe it’s only a matter of time before the National Guard is called to curb the movement of non-essential people in the State of Hawaii. They’ve already been called in for California, Washington, and New York.
- Hawaii Tourism and ALL business will be hit hard – We’ll need at least a few months after the final quarantine to start seeing business returning. This all depends on how the rest of the world handles this too. Once we control this, visitors will be craving a Hawaii trip more than ever. Many will have less money to do so, but we’ll see bookings jump from those that had reserved in the first place.
March 16th predictions:
- I believe it’s going to take over 100,000 cases in the US before the general public begins taking this seriously (currently at 4,314 cases in the US). If China’s numbers are accurate, their social engineering and ability to quarantine and shut down major cities are doing the job. Even though they’re reported to have less than 10,000 active cases (of their original 80,880 cases), all it takes is one reckless infected person to reinfect everyone in China. That being said, I believe they’ll have to keep things shut down for a while longer (maybe a few more months.) That affects the many products we get from them, including the majority of our generic pharmaceuticals.
- Why Hawaii is poised to handle this better than many areas? – I believe because of our outdoor, healthy lifestyle and strong sun, many of us will handle this virus far better than most. Tourism is down, with unprecedented cancellations happening every day. With fewer people on the islands, we’ll have less exposure and more resources.
- Why Hawaii is in trouble if this lasts a long time? – We still get the majority of our food and goods from off-island. Though we’ll have fewer people on the islands consuming, if we get fewer shipments due to less supply, we’re gonna have to dig deep and find ways to live on our own for the first time since the Hawaiians lived here with their successful ahupua’a system. We were told recently that our Costco is out of toilet paper and they were expecting the next shipment from the Costco on Oahu (shipments hit Oahu first.) I haven’t had confirmation yet, but I heard that the Oahu Costco kept the shipment that was meant for Maui. If this kind of behavior becomes the norm, the outer islands will be in a lot of trouble.
An update from a doctor here on Maui (3/16/20):
“There is no confirmation of community spread just yet based on our available testing which is ramping up. We are not overwhelmed right now but are bracing for whatever comes our way. The ED has been very busy since the confirmed Maui case, so we’re just trying to emphasize the need for healthier people to stay home and social distance while we ride this out.”
“Younger healthier patients without health conditions are also having very severe cases. My colleagues in NYC just intubated 3 patients under the age of 50 yesterday, all previously healthy.”
March 9th predictions:
- We now have 2 confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Hawaii. Once testing is more vigorous, I think we’ll have a lot more positives. That being said, I also think this is why the fatality rate is so high. How many people have COVID-19 and think it’s just the flu? If you’re a healthy person with the flu, are you going to be admitted to the hospital and be tested for COVID-19? Not likely. I’d bet that the fatality rate is much lower than we think and a lot more people have it.
- Stock markets continue to hit highs and lows. I see this continuing. Travel/tourism will be hit pretty badly. It’ll get worse, then once we start getting more accurate numbers for fatality rates and cases, things will ease up.
My original predictions from March 5th.
- I’d be surprised if COVID-19 didn’t hit every state in our Country. Hawaii will likely have a case, at which time, a lot of people are going to lose it. We’ll need extra shipments of essential supplies.
- The airlines are already showing less demand and expecting fewer visitors. It’ll probably get worse. Though many mainland vacationers will choose Hawaii over a long trip to Asia or Europe, we’ll still see weaker visitor numbers coming soon.
- The entire US economy will continue to have some wild ups and downs. With any more permanent downs, Hawaii will fare better than most other states. After 2008, everyone was hurting, but Hawaii didn’t get hit as bad a lot of the rest of the US.
Here are some helpful sources: