As the quick-spreading omicron variant of COVID-19 races through the U.S., Hawaiian authorities are considering increased entry requirements.
The island state has too few medical resources to handle an influx of sick visitors. That situation is exacerbated by the fact that, due to its remote location, there are no surrounding states to help Hawaii with patient overflow.
The U.S. as a whole has strengthened entry restrictions for international travelers. Such visitors must provide negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within a day prior to arrival.
Formerly, they could provide results from tests taken within three days prior to arrival.
Lt. Gov. of Hawaii Josh Green is one of the loudest voices advocating tighter entry restrictions in the state. Green suggested that all visitors should be tested or fully vaccinated before arrival, and he believes this change will materialize soon.
Strict entry requirements would not be new in Hawaii. During earlier phases of the pandemic, the state’s entry rules have been stringent compared to those in other states.
Many travel-starved tourists have been eager to visit Hawaii, partially because the pandemic has made international travel more arduous than domestic travel.
However, travelers in 2021 often found their Hawaii travel plans thwarted as the state repeatedly changed its entry requirements. Authorities created a Safe Travels program to help its hospitality industry bounce back.
Hawaii’s daily rate of new COVID-19 cases hovered around 100 in early December. By the month’s end, it reached a weekly average of 2,180 emergent cases per day.
Fortunately, daily death rates are still in the single digits.