May 27, 2020 Hawaii travel, tourism and vacation planning update

Aloha! It is our intent to provide you with distilled information and news updates from the State of Hawaii to assist you with your future travel plans and to more easily stay in touch with what is happening in Hawaii on a daily basis. We are taking the time to read articles, watch news stories and stay on top of things, so you don’t have to. If you ever want to dig in deeper, we provide you with all of the resources and links in the footer of each post like this, so that you can do that if you so choose.

If you have any questions or feedback, let us know at If you are ready to book your Oahu vacation rental accommodations, connect with our Dir. of Reservations Amber Schoneberg, at or by phone at 844-577-8800 Ext. 1.

First, let’s talk about COVID-19 Case Counts in Hawaii:

  • Before I cover Hawaii’s case counts though, I’d just like to express respect and sympathy, to the tens of thousands of families across the country, who have lost their loved ones directly or indirectly as a result of COVID-19. Our hearts go out to them and our respect goes out to all of those in the medical communities, first responders, and all those who play a daily vital role in this effort, the fight and the rebuilding of our societies as we grapple with all that we face every day. And all this as U.S. deaths from COVID-19 surpass 100,000 people in just a few short months.
  • Here in Hawaii, we did have ONE new case reported within the last 24-hour period; a person on the Big Island, breaking a 3-day statewide streak of zero new cases.
  • Statewide total since day one is 644 cases, with 600 people having been released from isolation, with only 83 having required hospitalization. More than 50,000 people in Hawaii have been TESTED for COVID19, meaning approximately 1.2% of those who were tested, were found to have had the virus.
  • Fortunately, Hawaii has some of the lowest case counts in the entire country and officials are doing all they can to keep it that way!

Next, Visitor Travel Restrictions:

  • The 14-day mandatory quarantine for all Visitors and returning residents flying into Hawaii, remains in effect through June 30, 2020. There has not yet been a definitive statement made regarding what is likely to happen AFTER June 30, with regards to the quarantine measures. It is a very strict quarantine and Hawaii officials are doing their best to monitor those who are subject to it so our recommendation is to not mess with that unless you absolutely need to come to Hawaii for some reason.

When will quarantine be lifted?:

  • At this point, we don’t know for sure. We do know that officials are looking into the viability of requiring visitors to Hawaii to take a COVID test prior to flying to Hawaii and to present a negative test prior to boarding the flight. Failure to produce such a test could result in being subject to the 14-day quarantine measure.
  • Travelers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand likely to be the first travelers allowed to come back to Hawaii
  • It has not been easy for officials to monitor and enforce the quarantine orders
  • Naturally, visitors are discouraged from coming to Hawaii until a plan is laid out that will result in the lifting of the quarantine
  • In a Hawaii Tourism Authority committee meeting today, Wednesday May 27th, tourism leaders called on the Governor to release a proposed timeline for reopening to mainland and international visitors. They are pushing for the Governor to give a target DATE so that the visitor industry can plan accordingly.

What is the leadership / political dynamic in Hawaii?:

  • As we all work to understand what is going on across the great Aloha State, it is important to understand a few key things here.
  • We need to remember that Hawaii is NOT a single island. It is geographically spread out across many islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Each island has its own unique set of needs, concerns and expectations. What is needed and wanted on Oahu is going to be very different than what the people of Maui need and want, for instance.
  • Initially, early on in this pandemic, each Mayor was taking charge of their respective areas, as you’d expect them to do. It became apparent pretty quickly that the Governor didn’t like them to be making decisions without first running it by him, so that changed the dynamic a bit. He wanted to be able to review and approve Mayor’s proposals. While in theory that doesn’t sound too bad, the bigger issue here, in my opinion, is that Governor Ige was already struggling as it was to be a strong leader for Hawaii, to be decisive, to make the quick decisions needed in this time of crisis. Funneling even more decision-making authority through an office that is not seen as a very proactive in terms of decision-making has only prolonged implementation on potential economic recovery efforts in Hawaii, again in my own personal opinion. Others may look at this very differently.
  • There are also legislators and leaders of industry and economic development and research weighing in, all striving to have an influence and crack the code on what it will take to safely and effectively reopen Hawaii to tourism.
  • As I describe the following updates and breaking news, it will make a little more sense knowing that Mayors now have to seek approval from the Governor’s office, before they can rollout reopening plans for their counties.

What is it like currently on Oahu?

  • While some stores have been reopening there is still a long way to go. It sounds like we we are right around the corner from a big step forward in terms of more local businesses being able to open, which I will go over shortly.
  • Keep in mind that at malls and shopping centers there have not really been any places to sit down; seating has been removed. Sounds like that could soon change though.
  • Macy’s at the Ka Makana Ali’i mall was busy the other day, long lines, due to social distancing.
  • There are still a lot of stores and activities are closed for the time being. Mostly essential businesses, food / household goods stores and a variety of restaurants are open, with more to come soon.
  • The majority of people wear masks when going to stores, picking up food or other face to face business interactions
  • When at the beach or park or just walking around, many people are not wearing masks due to the ease of keeping a good social distancing. Locals are not wearing masks when exercising.

What is the Status of legal Vacation Rentals:

  • Legal vacation rentals are still Deemed as non-essential, as least for Honolulu County on Oahu.
  • The hope is that will soon change once inter-island travel resumes.

TODAY’S NEWS Updates and Headlines:

  • I’d like to highlight what I consider to be the most optimistic outlook available from any elected official in Hawaii thus far, from Lt. Governor and the State’s COVID-19 Liaison, Dr. Josh Green, as expressed during an interview with KHON2 News. Dr. Green is the most bullish leader in Hawaii that I’ve seen, in terms of pushing to have Hawaii’s businesses get back to business, inter-island travel to resume, NOW, and to make a strong push towards getting visitor travel resuming to the Islands as well, sooner rather than later.
  • Some of his comments from the KHON 2 news interview include:
    • “We need to open our economy, but safely. I think it has been safe now for the better part of a month. The Governor is very cautious and that is being reflected in the opening plan. I want everything open that is pushing the threshold of higher risk, by June 1st, which is next Monday; that would make a lot of sense to me. There has been a four week cycle since we’ve been in the green so I’m comfortable and I know that the key people that advise the Governor have gotten there psychologically that we are safe. We still are being super cautious, but there is no real significant risk until we start re-injecting tourism from the mainland or Asia into Hawaii. I’m confident it is going to be fine.”
    • With regards to the reopening of inter-island travel he said: “I understand it drives people bonkers to not have a direct calendar in front of them and I’m right there with them. The timeline really is supposed to reflect two weeks. I do think that Monday is a perfect day because it will be the first of the month; it will reflect an easy to measure month for us.” He said that, “I went through all of the new paperwork and people were finding their sea legs on it, but there really is extremely little risk on inter-island travel because there’s not a surge of cases here or on Maui or Kaua’i or anywhere. Travel, it needs to open now inter-island, because we have to debug all processes so we are actually ready to do the bigger lift which is international travel and travel from the mainland. I pray that the 1st is the date and we are giving the Governor a pretty good nudge hoping that that will happen.”
  • Honolulu County Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s plan to allow for businesses on Oahu to continue reopening was approved by the Governor. SO…over the next couple of days, we will see other businesses opening!
    • Tomorrow, Thursday, May 28 businesses that can reopen if they want including sea life attractions, water parks, pools, campgrounds, open markets, shooting and archery ranges,
    • come this Friday, May 29th, businesses like hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and tattoo parlors can open. I’ll look forward to seeing all the upgraded hairstyles, fancy nails and new tattoos people!
  • Also, businesses deemed “Non-Essential” will be free to bring workers back to offices….but it’s not clear if they are considered essential so those workers would apparently be doing unwanted / non-essential work, but they can do it! Are you confused? Me, too.
  • Moving on!
  • Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said he would like movie theaters, museums and fitness centers to reopen by June 19 and a separate proposal is likely to be sent to the Governor’s office soon on that front.
  • The Honolulu Zoo is working towards a target opening date of June 5th
  • The popular hiking trail near Hawaii Kai called “The Koko*8* Head Tramway”, known to most as “Koko Crater Stairs”, reopened to hikers today. The trail had been closed since March. Once the summit is reached, hikers enjoy panoramic ocean, mountain and city views. It really is a great hike, but NOT for the faint of heart, trust me!
  • Representatives from Wet n Wild water park as well as Kualoa Ranch, have stated they are planning on resuming business operations as of this Friday May 29th, with social distancing measures being put into place to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • More than 100 cars filled with those who work in hotels and other aspects of the visitor travel industry, drove through Honolulu to bring awareness to the need for safety in the work place, once Hawaii tourism resumes. This was a union organized event and was promoting the importance of making sure that staff are safe and that the necessary PPE supplies will be provided to union workers moving forward.

Neighbor Island Updates:

  • Kaua;i:
    • Kauai’s Mayor, Derek Kawakami, who is the chief executive officer of the County of Kaua’i, which has jurisdiction over the islands of both Kaua’i and Ni’ihau, is still awaiting approval from Governor Age to open gyms, dine in restaurants, playgrounds, spas, personal service businesses, live music at restaurants, outdoor team sports, etc.
    • It sounds like Kauai officials would also like to roll out such re-openings early next week starting on June 1st as well. I expected we will hear more about approvals for Kauai on this front in the next 24-48 hours.
  • Maui:
    • Governor Ige approved Maui County’s plan to reopen business by Monday June 1st, including dine-in services at restaurant’s county and beach parks, playgrounds, gyms, rec centers, clubhouses and dog parks.
    • Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino stated in a news conference today: “Allowing most of the businesses to open up June 1 is exciting news. We have worked over the last 4 or 5 weeks in slowly opening up Maui County. We are ready.”
    • Bars, nightclubs, community centers and other venues typically used for larger gatherings, will remain closed for the time being.
  • Hawaii Island or Big Island:
    • Nothing new to report at this time

Thank you for watching our Hawaii traveler updates and remember to like, subscribe and share! Let us know if you have any questions or feedback and we’ll see you in the next video. Mahalo!

If you have any questions or feedback, let us know at If you are ready to book your Oahu vacation rental accommodations, connect with our Dir. of Reservations Amber Schoneberg, at or by phone at 844-577-8800 Ext. 1.


Munro Murdock
Broker, Owner, MBA
Love Hawaii Villas


Broker/Owner of Love Hawaii Villas, Munro Murdock, was interviewed for the following recent news coverage. To be clear, Love Hawaii Villas is in favor of ALL legal Hawaii accommodations options, including hotels, to be able to be open and operate on an equal basis. The discrimination against legal short-term rentals during and following the COVID-19 travel shutdowns is not acceptable and it violates property Owner’s constitutional rights of use for their properties. Much of the media involvement has been in an effort to help dispel misconceptions and to represent the rights of legal short-term vacation rental owners throughout Hawaii, not just for the property Owners we have as clients. Industry leaders, even competitors, have come together to unite in this cause off ensuring equality in the accommodations sector of the Hawaii visitor travel industry!

MAY 17, 2020: Honolulu Star-Advertiser – COVID-19 restrictions imperil Hawaii vacation rentals

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: COVID-19 restrictions imperil Hawaii vacation rentals

MAY 24, 2020: KITV-4: Owners tout vacation rentals as safest post-pandemic travel option.

JUNE 1, 2020: Civil Beat – Path To Reopening Includes Short-Term Rentals

JUNE 11, 2020: KITV-4 News – Coronavirus safety standards for hotels vs. vacation rentals: is one better than the other?

Travel Weekly – COMING SOON


1 new COVID-19 case on Big Island brings statewide total to 644

US death toll from coronavirus surges past 100,000 people

**Lt. Gov. Green Discusses Next Phase of Reopening Hawaii** (LHV Favorite; at the top of the list for a reason!)

Lieutenant Governor believes Hawai’i should lift 14-day interisland quarantine


Salons, barber shops and other ‘personal service providers’ on Oahu get OK to reopen Friday

Gov. Ige approves Mayor Caldwell’s proposal to open more Oahu businesses Friday

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announces timeline to reopen hair salons, gyms and museums

Outdoor activities, like water parks and the zoo, can reopen Thursday in Honolulu; What changes should you expect to see?

Here’s a timeline of when salons, pools, campgrounds, and more can reopen

More businesses to reopen on O’ahu starting Friday

O’ahu barber shops, salons given approval to reopen Friday

Gov. David Ige approves proposals to reopen more businesses, activities

Oahu restaurants allowed to resume dine-in service June 5, with new operating guidelines


Maui mayor seeks approval to reopen more businesses by June 1

What’s reopening, what’s still closed in Maui County

Dog Parks, playgrounds, county and beach parks set to reopen June 1 on Maui

Maui Mayor seeks approval from Gov. Ige to reopen recreational facilities


All Counties in Hawaii

Civil Beat-HNN poll: Despite partisan divide, support for COVID-19 orders is broad

Coronavirus tourism lockdowns hit Hawaii’s vacation rental industry hard in April

Koko Crater Stairs reopen from coronavirus shutdown this afternoon

Hotel workers demand safe return to work in car caravan

Companies try thermal technology to help detect COVID-19

Condotels ramp up security to ensure visitors comply with quarantine order





Moloka’i and Lana’i:


Hawaii Island or Big Island:



Munro is the Principal Broker and Owner of Love Hawaii Realty and Love Hawaii Villas. He is a Top 100 Realtor in the State of Hawaii and leads a team of vacation rental industry professionals in providing exceptional property and Guest experiences across their portfolio of privately-managed luxury legal vacation rentals in Hawaii. Munro has been involved with vacation rental marketing and management for more than a decade and is a sought-after leader in the industry. He prides himself on being an early adopter of cutting-edge technologies and in going the extra mile for his Owner and Guest clients. He is passionate about what he does and loves to find ways to innovate and adapt in the face of market changes.

He is a firm believer that by focusing on delivering a high level of service, that everything will take care of itself. He recognizes the lifetime value of Client and Team member relationships and loves to bring his boundless creativity to life in his day-to-day work. Munro is married and lives with his wife and three children and cute little dog in Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii. He loves the outdoors and is as active as he can be with stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding, kite surfing, running, SCUBA diving, traveling and just hanging out with his family around the beaches of Hawaii. 


Love Hawaii Villas is a full-service vacation rental marketing and management firm, specializing in exclusive vacation properties in the Ko Olina Resort, Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore and Hawaii Kai areas on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. Every year, Travelers from all over the world stay in properties managed by Love Hawaii Villas while visiting Hawaii.

The Team at Love Hawaii also assists Clients with the purchase and sale of Hawaii real estate through the team of licensed Agents and Brokers at Love Hawaii Realty. Love Hawaii was recognized as one of Hawaii’s Best Workplaces in 2019, and is an active member of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA), Rotary International, National Association of Realtors (NAR), Hawaii Association of Realtors (HAR) and Honolulu Board of Realtors (HBR).

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