It’s November 1, and that means Hawaii is officially open and welcoming back its visitors. And on Monday, November 8, the state will join the entire country in welcoming back international visitors. We are expecting an update from Governor Ige, perhaps as soon as today. The next word from the governor will be about how Hawaii will integrate the new US international arrivals plan with its Safe Travels. See: New Hawaii Safe Travels Rules Starting This Week.
Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said, “I am happy to see trends continuing downwards, suggesting we are on our way out of the acute phase of the pandemic.” Then today, the state saw the fewest number of new COVID cases in a long time, with 69 new cases reported and no deaths. Ige said last week that the relaxing of restrictions would occur as the average daily number of recent cases statewide of less than 100.
Ige said last week that Hawaii is preparing to reduce Safe Travels restrictions before the New Year. In the meantime, however, Hawaii must have a plan for international arrivals in just one week.
For the time being, the Hawaii Safe Travels protocol will remain in place, including vaccination and testing options, uploading of documents, and completing a health questionnaire before travel.
Changes at Hawaii restaurants are coming first.
We expect relaxing or elimination of the 50% restaurant capacity limitation to occur at any point. Hawaii’s restaurants and customers are hurting. The Hawaii Restaurant Association said, “we have been under the hardest mandates of any state in the United States. And our restaurants are suffering multiple ways.” Maui’s mayor has already asked the governor to return the island’s restaurants to between 75% and 100% capacity. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said, “As long as people can confirm that they’re vaccinated at a restaurant, the risk is very low.”
That could mean that Maui and Oahu rules for proof of vaccination or testing might be implemented statewide, in concert with this change.
Sweeping changes could need to wait out Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
If things continue to improve, we believe the state will relax more rules, including some or all of the Safe Travels protocol and indoor mask mandates. That next set of more widespread changes will not be implemented until after the holidays.