Today Lt. Gov. Josh Green addressed the upcoming changes that were announced yesterday, saying “we’ve come through the worst of it.” He said about Safe travels “the program eventually goes away.” As to exactly when travelers can expect Safe Travels to be eliminated entirely, he said he expects that to occur “sometime between the end of March and early April. ”
Boosters will not be required.
After confirming many times recently that boosters would be required for Hawaii travel, which mandate was to have taken effect on February 18, the governor performed a 180 yesterday. As a result, Covid boosters will in fact not be required in order to be considered fully vaccinated and thus exempt from quarantine when visiting Hawaii.
Going even further, Ige said that the criteria and conditions for ending the state’s Safe Travels program are now being developed by the Hawaii Department of Health. Lt. Gov. Green has been intimating for the past few weeks that Safe Travels could end soon.
This comes as Hawaii reported just over 500 new Covid cases again today, about the same as yesterday. That’s down by more than 90% from just a few weeks ago during the Omicron surge.
Governor Ige’s announcement.
“There has been much speculation about booster requirements for travelers arriving in Hawaii. I want to emphasize that the program remains unchanged at this time and boosters will not be required for up-to-date status.
All four county mayors, the DOH (Department of Health), and visitor industry leaders have coordinated closely in making this decision, which took into account declining Covid 19 case counts and hospitalizations, as well as Hawaii’s robust vaccination rate.
While it is not required – I do encourage you to get boosted or vaccinated. It’s one of the best defenses we have against COVID-19.
The DOH is currently working on criteria and conditions that would allow the state to safely end the Safe Travels program. If conditions require the continuation of Safe Travels, federal funding will continue to support the program.”
In his news conference, Ige continued: “Hospitalizations have also dropped… We will also maintain the indoor mask mandate and other rules that have helped us manage this pandemic while reopening the economy.”
His announcement followed on the heels of Maui’s announcement that it will also drop the booster requirements as relates to entering into businesses including restaurants.
Hawaii Safe Travels remains in place, at least for now.
There were no further changes announced yesterday. For now, there remain three possible exemptions from quarantine on arrival in Hawaii. Those are 1) primary vaccination, 2) approved testing within 72 hours of travels to Hawaii, or 3) having been recovered from Covid within the past 90 days.
Will other Hawaii Covid restrictions end?
We are left wondering about whether there is any plan to end indoor mask mandates as well as the Honolulu and Maui proof of vaccination programs for restaurants, bars, and gyms. There are no to these questions thus far.
What’s your take on Hawaii’s new direction for Covid travel?
Updated 2/9/22 12 noon.