Hawaii will lift quarantine and pre-travel testing requirements for domestic travelers from the mainland who can show proof of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination early next month, Gov. David Ige said Thursday.
The governor also announced he would ease restrictions on social gatherings and restaurants.
In a move designed to let businesses prepare for the change, Ige set a firm date of July 8 for the changes.
The changes come as Hawaii’s number of new COVID-19 cases drops and the rate of people who have been vaccinated statewide inches toward 60%. The state’s pandemic curve meanwhile has flattened to an average of 39 new cases per day, compared to a peak of more than 300 new cases per day last summer.
People vaccinated in Hawaii have been able to fly freely from the mainland since June 15. The new change now extends that policy to all travelers from the mainland, no matter what state they were vaccinated in.
Ige also said the maximum number of people allowed at social gatherings will increase from 10 to 25 indoors and from 25 to 75 outdoors. Restaurants will be able to operate at 75% capacity, with parties of 25 indoors and 75 outdoors. People still must wear masks for indoor gatherings, Ige said.
“This milestone is truly something to celebrate,” the governor said.
To sidestep the quarantine by using vaccination records, travelers must upload their vaccination records onto the state’s COVID-19 “Safe Travels” website and bring a hard copy of their vaccination record with them, Ige said.
Ige: Firm Date Will Let Businesses Plan
Although Hawaii has not yet reached the 60% threshold, Ige said he was setting a firm date to allow businesses to prepare.
“One of the things we’ve heard from the business community is how challenging it is to recruit workers,” Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said.
He joined Ige at the press conference along with Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Maui Mayor Mike Victorino.
County rules at times have differed slightly from the state’s mandate, but that will not be the case with the current order, Ige and the mayors said.
Ige said Hawaii will lift all COVID-19 restrictions when Hawaii’s vaccination rate reaches 70%, but he said that could take months. That includes the mandate to wear masks indoors, a requirement that will continue for now, Ige said.
Although international travel to Hawaii remains nearly non-existent, domestic travel is steadily returning. On Tuesday, for example, Hawaii reported more than 28,000 domestic passenger arrivals compared with about 34,300 domestic arrivals on June 22, 2019.
Ige said the easing of travel restrictions could open the door to more visitors.
“We do know that there’s high demand for Hawaii,” he said. “We do believe that it will make it easier for those who have been vaccinated to travel to Hawaii.”
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