Starting October 15 the Aloha State began welcoming visitors with a pre-testing program. This allowed exemption from the two-week quarantine, providing they tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their flight to Hawai’i. In the first week, visitor travel rebounded to quadruple the numbers from the week before. Those numbers have since held steady for the last 4 weeks. So what does it look like now and how have things changed from pre-Covid times?
Number of Visitors is Still Way Down
Those who live here have noticed an increase in the number of people at the beaches, restaurants, and on the road. Where there were once empty shops and restaurants, now you see bustling sidewalks. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic is up in the cities of Lahaina, Kihei, and little beach towns like Paia. At the same time it’s not that busy. Statistics from Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism show the number of visitors is still down 75% from a year ago.
Restaurants and Recreation Have Reopened
Many businesses that relied on tourism were forced to shut down for the last 7 months. Most are now opening their doors and welcoming back visitors with relief. Restaurants have reopened with patio and sidewalk seating, or at 50% indoor capacity (and yes, for those wondering Mama’s Fish House is now open as of Nov. 6!). Surfing lessons, snorkeling trips, and zipline tours are all back, with some great promotional discounts.
Covid Numbers Remain Steady
So far there has not been a significant increase in the number of daily Covid cases on Maui. These stats usually have a lag from any significant events, so we’ll be watching these numbers in the coming weeks. Good news came from a voluntary post-arrival testing program that started on October 17. According to an article by KHON2 news on October 28, out of over 700 participants tested there was only one positive result.
A Great Time to Visit
A friend recently commented that Hawai’i might be one of the safest places to travel in the U.S. right now. With most passengers on a Trans-Pacific flight testing negative before flying, the risk of exposure is reduced. A window of opportunity exists to visit Maui while there are fewer travelers and great discounts on activities. You might have to wear a mask to the beach, but you may never again get to experience Maui with so few fellow travelers.