Tourists will need to present a vaccine certificate or a negative COVID-19 test to circumvent quarantine on arrival in Hawaii until at least spring 2022, according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
Green told Hawaii News Now the “Safe Travels” program will not be phased out “until the rest of the world has seen a great decrease in COVID. [I think] the governor will be reluctant to do away with it until spring 2022,”
On the plus side, the indoor mask mandate could be scrapped in early 2022 given that Hawaii reports one of the highest vaccination rates in the country and its infection rate has dropped to just 1.7%, he said.
Other officials appear to be worried about the forthcoming holiday season and the possible epidemiological consequences now that the state has reopened to international tourism.
“[I believe] the governor and some of the mayors probably are a little concerned about what could happen over Thanksgiving and Christmas when people gather.”
With “exceeded standards and expectations” in terms of immunizations, booster doses, and vaccination for youngsters, the case for removing the mask mandates could become even stronger in the months ahead.
Authorities must still assess if the protocols in place to welcome overseas tourists are sufficient to prevent COVID-positive people from entering the island.
Last week, an aircraft from Tokyo, Japan, was the first international flight to land in the state, carrying 60 tourists.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) officials acknowledge that a visitor rush is unlikely to happen overnight.
“I do anticipate it’ll be…weeks if not months before the traveling public becomes totally accustomed to everything that’s being asked of them.”
“In the meantime, we have to be at our best hospitably, and be able to assist people through this learning curve which we can anticipate will happen over the next several weeks,” HTA president, John De Fries.
The U.S. is predicted to experience the fastest tourism rebound worldwide in 2022, revealed a recent study conducted by the (WTTC).