Starting June 15, travelers from the mainland who received at least one vaccine dose in Hawaii will be able to skip COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival in the state, Gov. David Ige announced Friday. He also said restrictions will be lifted entirely for interisland travel on that date.
“Those traveling to the mainland and returning to the state of Hawaii who have been vaccinated in Hawaii, one or both doses, will be able to travel without a pre-travel test and can arrive here in the islands and not be subject to quarantine,” Ige said. Rules for international travel weren’t addressed.
Ige said 52% of Hawaii’s population has been fully vaccinated and is rapidly approaching 55%.
He laid out new benchmarks for lifting travel restrictions altogether, saying that if and when 60% of Hawaii residents become fully immunized against COVID-19, the state will begin allowing fully vaccinated travelers from other U.S. states and territories to skip quarantine, as long as they provide documentation their immunization occurred in the United States, either online through the Hawaii Safe Travels portal or by presenting their vaccination card in person.
All travel restrictions will be lifted when the state hits a milestone of 70% full immunization, he added.
“All of this is subject to continued monitoring for the impact of variants and the other health determinants in the community such as health care capacity and other public health measures,” Ige said. “We will always take appropriate action should there be a crisis in our community. We need to push hard not to get to a point where Safe Travels (rules) are no longer needed for Hawaii to be safe.”
If Hawaii does not reach the 70% threshold of immunity via COVID-19 vaccination, Ige said he would still consider lifting travel restrictions if COVID-19 infection rates are low.
“It is possible if the number of new cases drops to an acceptable level that we terminate restrictions ahead of those hard percentages,” he said.
Officials hope to meet that threshold soon by offering new incentives and prizes to those who get vaccinated, although the new higotvaccinated.com website crashed within minutes of its launch. More than 125 people had signed up for vaccine incentives during those first few minutes it was online, according to Brooks Baehr, Department of Health spokesman, who noted the officials will work to reinstate the website as soon as possible.
Prizes included a year of Zippy’s meals, valued at $6,000, and 1 million Marriott International travel points.
Hawaii has recorded an average of 52 new cases daily during the past two weeks.
“If you have questions about vaccination, get answers,” Ige said. “If you’re busy, find the time. Right now vaccination is the best way to take care of each other.”
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