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Hawaii to End Major COVID-19 Restriction for Domestic Travelers
Oahu Island, Hawaii. Credit: Shutterstock
Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced March 1 that he is ending the state’s travel quarantine and Safe Travels program on March 25. Beginning March 26, domestic travelers will not have to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a pre-travel negative test result to enter Hawaii. Incoming passengers will also no longer be required to create a Safe Travels account.
The lifting of these protocols does not apply to international travelers, who will continue to follow requirements put in place by the federal government. Travelers arriving to Hawaii now through March 25 are still subject to Safe Travels requirements.
Ige also announced that, starting on March 26, state and county employees and visitors to state facilities will no longer be required to provide vaccination status or negative COVID-19 test results.
“We started the Safe Travels program to protect the health, lives and livelihoods of the people of Hawaii,” Ige said in a press release. “The program put in place safety protocols that included a multi-layered screening and testing approach that kept our communities safe during the COVID-19 surges that endangered the most vulnerable of our citizens. Right now, we are seeing lower case counts, and hospitalizations are coming down.”
The state’s mask mandate will remain in place.
“Many states dropped their mask mandates earlier in the pandemic, only to have to reinstate them once the Delta variant surged,” Ige said. “Hawaii maintained its mask mandate and our consistency helped to keep COVID case numbers and hospitalizations as low as possible during the surge. It is also one of the reasons Hawaii has the second lowest death rate in the country. We are watching disease activity closely across the state, the country and globally, and we will adjust accordingly to keep our entire community healthy—from keiki [children] to kupuna [grandparents].”
The Hawaiian Islands have taken safety seriously throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, enacting some of the strictest protocols of any state. The Safe Travels program required travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival to receive exemption from the 10-day quarantine rule.
Last summer, Ige ended restrictions for inter-county travel, and said that when the state achieved a 70% vaccination rate, all restrictions on travel would be lifted and the Safe Travels program would end. According to the Hawaii Department of Health, Hawaii currently has a statewide vaccination rate of 76.5%.
“Mahalo to Governor Ige, Lieutenant Governor Green, the Hawaii Department of Health and everyone who has helped to keep Hawaii safe during the pandemic,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said in a press release. “Hawaii has the lowest COVID-related death rate in the nation because of this vigilance. Hawaii is the nation's only island state, and our geographic isolation means our considerations are different from the other states. COVID-19 is still out there, and I ask for continued patience from everyone.”
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