Posted on January 08, 2021
The Hawaiian island of Kauai continues to shift the goalposts when it comes to COVID testing and quarantine requirements for inbound travelers, making it difficult for Kauai timeshare owners and other vacationers to know what to expect when they reserve accommodation.
Following the relaxing of Hawaii quarantine requirements in October if travelers produced a negative COVID test, Kauai was hesitant to go along with the plan. Island officials wanted more assurances that COVID wouldn’t be brought onto Kauai, but they were concerned about the already massive upheaval in the tourism industry. Eventually, they implemented their own 10-day quarantine requirement once travelers landed onto the island.
Beginning this week, all travelers including timeshare owners and guests can avoid the Kauai quarantine period if they produce a negative COVID test upon arrival on a different Hawaiian island, then remain on that island for three days before traveling on to Kauai.
Another option would be to land on Kauai with a pre-arrival negative test, quarantine for a three day period at one of six designated “resort bubble” properties and be tested again after three days. The second test would need to be negative to be released from quarantine.
Travelers would also need to wear a tracking bracelet device to monitor their whereabouts during quarantine.
Local tourism officials and resort operators report that visitors have not come back to Kauai in meaningful numbers due to the mixed messages and are concerned that the changing rules will continue to harm the island’s economy.
Other than the obvious confusion, the main problem with this policy is that the local government is essentially picking winners and losers among the resorts. Visitors will naturally gravitate to The Significant Six resorts if they think they only need to quarantine for three rather than ten days. Some timeshare resorts such as The Cliffs at Princeville will receive favorable treatment, and those owners would benefit from the new rules, but what about the timeshare resorts that are not on the list?
For example, Grand Pacific has cancelled reservations through January 17 for Hanalei Bay Resort and Makai Club Resort. Wyndham is also showing resorts such as Kauai Beach Villas, Lawai Beach Resort and all of their Princeville resorts as closed. Wyndham timeshare owners can check the status of these and other closed Wyndham Hawaii and California resorts by clicking here.
I understand the hesitancy to let large numbers of visitors onto their island with COVID cases on the rise, but hopefully local officials can come to their senses for a more effective mitigation policy. If their aim is keeping their visitors numbers low, this should do it but at what cost to the already battered tourism economy?
California officials continue to enforce cringe-worthy policies impacting the timeshare industry as well as the overall travel sector. While other states enact policies managing the increased COVID cases while allowing resorts and travel to resume, the majority of California is still under a mandatory stay-at-home order issued by the state. Northern California is the exception, as ICU bed availability is at an estimated 24.4% of capacity.
As a result, Wyndham is showing all of its California timeshare resorts as closed on its website, while Diamond Resorts has closed eight of its California resorts through at least January 21. Some of Diamond’s club-affiliated timeshare resorts are still open. A list of the closed resorts is on the Diamond Resorts COVID page here.
Disney’s Grand Californian has been closed since last Spring and remains closed with no anticipated reopening date in sight. Grand Pacific Resorts, with the majority of its timeshare resorts in California, is still operating its Golden State resorts but under significant restrictions and is not accepting reservations for non-essential travel.
California timeshare owners should monitor the situation closely, especially if they are considering traveling to the state in the next couple of months. Remember, this order originally went into effect on December 6 and because of the unpredictable nature of the situation this could go on for a while.
The availability of COVID vaccines should lead to an improvement and a lifting of the order, but it could be weeks if not months before critical mass is achieved. Go to the state’s page at https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/#regional-stay-home-order/ for more information and the status of the order.
The good news is that timeshare resorts in the majority of the country remain open for business. Even in the down time following the holidays, travel opportunities exist such as significant discounts of 40% on Disney World park passes for Florida residents.
Winter is in full swing and top timeshare destinations such as Park City and Breckenridge are open for guests, albeit with the standard COVID protocols. Because these destinations feature world-class outdoor activities, visitors can still have loads of fun even in the midst of the pandemic.
If anyone has questions regarding specific timeshare resorts or destinations, our licensed agents would be more than happy to help. Give us a call at 877-624-6889.