In an interview this week, Lt. Gov. Josh Green was quoted as saying that it is time to eliminate the Hawaii Safe Travels program entirely and get back to the new normal. But just what does that mean for visitors and when will it happen?
Update 2/17/22. Many of you have asked on which Hawaii intends to eliminate Safe Travels. It is being reported that the current plan is to eliminate Safe Travels effective starting March 17, just one month from today, on St. Patrick’s Day. Of course, that is subject to change and is not the official word from Governor Ige.
Gubernatorial hopeful Green said that he believes that the Safe Travels will go first, and he expects that to come within the next 30 days, by mid-March.
If and when that happens as he predicts, and as Governor Ige has also intimated, there should be no further requirements associated with getting on a flight to Hawaii. That means no texting, and no vaccination or proof thereof will need to be uploaded to the state. Of course, if things change, you can be sure that Safe Travels will remain in the wings, and could be reinstituted should that become necessary.
By early April:
Lt. Gov. Green said that by early April he expects Hawaii will quit its indoor mask mandate.
The state most closely related to Hawaii in terms of distance and number of visitors is California. People there who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear a face mask as the state’s mandate expires at midnight tonight. Schools and individual counties there can still have their own rules in that regard. Unvaccinated are still required to wear masks indoors, although how that would be enforced is unclear.
State research says Covid cases will continue to decline.
Hipam, the state’s pandemic modeling group just said that they expect cases to continue to decline. Just a few weeks ago, Hipam wasn’t sure it would reach this low level, but now it gladly says the trend will continue. Hipam is “a group of applied epidemiologists, data scientists, health workers, and professionals who wish to offer our help to the State of Hawaiʻi to address the formidable challenges posed by this pandemic.”
CDC set to update its recommendations including masks.
An update on Covid guidance is expected soon from the CDC. Director Rochelle Walensky said today, “We are assessing the most important factors based on where we are in the pandemic and will soon put guidance in place that is relevant and encourages prevention measures when they are most needed to protect public health and our hospitals. We want to give people a break from things like mask-wearing when these metrics are better and then have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen.”
Huge about-face in one month.
It was just late in January that the state confirmed it planned to require Covid boosters for travel to Hawaii.