Hawaii is set to lift pre-arrival testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated domestic U.S. travelers as soon as the state achieves a 60% vaccination rate.
The change is part of a detailed plan to end the state’s COVID-19-related travel protocols announced by Hawaii Gov. David Ige last week.
Beginning June 15, inter-county travel will resume without restriction and fully vaccinated residents who received all their vaccine shots in Hawaii will be allowed to skip pre-travel testing and quarantine requirements when returning to the state.
Once Hawaii’s vaccination rate hits 60%, officials will lift pre-arrival testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated U.S. residents who received all their vaccine shots in the country. Visitors will be required to prove their vaccination status through the state’s Safe Travels program.
When the vaccination rate reaches 70%, Hawaii will lift travel restrictions for all visitors, including international arrivals, and bring the Safe Travels program to an end.
In a statement, Ige said it was possible to ease travel restrictions because of Hawaii’s “robust vaccination rate” and the sacrifices made by residents throughout the pandemic. However, he emphasized that the community can’t let its guard down yet.
“We need to push hard now so we can get to the point where Safe Travels is no longer needed to keep the people of Hawaii safe,” Ige said.
To date, nearly 60% of Hawaii’s population has gotten at least one vaccine dose, according to the state’s health department. Around 52% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
In comparison, around 52% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 42% of Americans have been fully vaccinated.
In May, Hawaii lifted its outdoor mask mandate and introduced a vaccine passport program that allows fully vaccinated residents to move from island to island without tests or going into quarantine.
However, travelers coming from outside of the state are still required to quarantine unless they obtain a negative test result from a trusted provider within 72 hours of arrival.
The CDC recently announced that it is safe for fully vaccinated U.S. residents to travel within the country without testing or quarantine requirements. The agency also said that individuals who have received all of their vaccine shots no longer have to wear masks.
COVID-19 cases have been steadily dropping across the U.S. since January, when the Biden administration introduced an ambitious nationwide vaccination program.
On Jan. 8, there were 300,779 new coronavirus infections reported, according to the New York Times. By June 7, the number had dropped to 13,707.