Maui bound! (with reservations)

The HAT blog is headed to the Valley Isle for a working holiday with Honorable Wife Person and two in-laws. It’s been many months in planning (accommodations and transportation secured in late 2020), and in all honesty, it’s a decision that comes with a considerable amount of trepidation, even on the day before the trip. We have reservations and we have reservations.

Of course, we’ve been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Hawaii in minute detail since its onset a year and a half ago. It’s part of the gig now in the Hawaii travel industry, and a menacing and pervasive part of life in Hawaii (and everywhere else in the world) in September 2021. Here is what we’ve done to minimize our risk of infection and of unwittingly transmitting the deadly COVID virus at home on Oahu and during our Maui trip:

Waihee Valley Ridge Trail.

We got vaccinated. We did it as soon as the vaccine, in our case Pfizer, became available. That was in April. We trusted the science behind the vaccine and the advice of our primary healthcare provider. It was a “no-brainer” for us. It certainly wasn’t a political decision. I was an ideological decision in that Honorable Wife Person and I find not contracting or transmitting COVID to be ideal. Simple, really.

We signed up with Aloha Safe Alert. It helps us monitor our potential exposure, which we have for 18 months limited by masking in public and avoiding large gatherings. It’s been difficult declining invitations to gatherings with family and friends for so long. But we want them to be safe, too. And we quite frankly haven’t been invited to many. Everyone we know and love is also trying to limit risk.

West Maui.

We signed up with the Hawaii SMART Card through the Hawaii Safe Travels program. It took five minutes to get our vaccination verified and receive a QR code that grants us entre into whatever affected business we choose (if they’ll have us!). With vaccine/testing requirements now in place for businesses on Oahu and Maui, you’ll need a vaccine or negative test verification to do, well, pretty much anything that involves commerce and other people. It’s in my phone. Piece of cake.

We talked with experts. We picked HAT owner Aloha Bruce’s brain and tuned into the Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast. “You’re vaccinated? Just be sensible and you’ll be fine,” he said, the same response we received from a friend who works at Hawaiian Airlines, which we’re flying. We also talked with friends on Maui when Hawaii case counts surged through the summer.

Ohea River, Maui.

“Should we cancel the trip?” we asked a few friends who live on the Valley Isle. They all offered the same advice as Bruce. “You’re vaccinated? Don’t be stupid, and you’ll be fine. Call us when you get here.” They aren’t Hawaii travel industry experts, but they are “on the ground”. They know what Maui is experiencing in this pandemic. None have any compunction about telling walking health hazards, friends and family even, to keep away.

So, we’re kitted-up with KN95 facemasks and ample hand sanitizer. We’ve reviewed and approved of the safety measures implemented at our accommodations and rental car company. We haven’t yet planned to dine out, but with vaccine/testing requirements in place for restaurants and other businesses, that may change. The plan is to have no plan after 18 months of careful consideration about our everyday movements and interactions. We’re protected by the vaccine and wear the armor of common sense. Maybe we’ll head Upcountry to visit with friends.

Haleakala, House of the Sun.

Full disclosure: this blogger will be perfectly happy to simply loll about on the beach and eat sandwiches and drink cold beverages for a week, avoiding as much non-family or non-friend human contact as possible. But it is a working vacation, and blog updates from Maui will be forthcoming. There are a lot of things we’d like to do, to eat, to see. Stay safe and stay tuned!    

Posted by: Jamie Winpenny