Kauai businesses hope for a rebound as island prepares to welcome back trans-Pacific travelers

Businesses rejoice as Kauai will rejoin the state's pre-travel testing program

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kauai will be re-entering Hawaii’s Safe Travels program Monday, and businesses are hoping for more trans-Pacific travelers.

Kauai was part of the pre-travel testing program with all the other islands. But when cases rose in December, Mayor Derek Kawakami pulled the island out — essentially halting almost all tourism.

Since then, the island has welcomed back inter-island travelers and adopted resort bubbles.

But now, trans-Pacific travelers will be able to skip the quarantine altogether if they follow the program rules, which include taking a COVID-19 test from an approved partner 72 hours before their flight.

When Kauai County opted out of the program, some businesses decided staying open wasn’t worth it and they’ve been closed since. Many say they hope the county stays in this program for good this time.

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, the largest private employer on the island, is reopening Monday to coincide with the return of trans-Pacific travelers.

“It means regular paychecks again, which is exciting,” said Diann Hartman, director of marketing communications at the resort. “It’s a pretty slow start, but we’re happy to be back.”

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is one of the resorts and businesses also participating in the Kokua Kauai Card program.

As part of the re-entry, a number of organizations are offering a discount card to visitors who take voluntary post-arrival tests.

The Kokua Kauai Card offers discounts at 77 businesses across the island.

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