Hawaii announced yesterday that it has hit 2,000,000 vaccinations to date, with comments from the state’s two top leaders. So what does that have to do with Hawaii vacations? A lot. Some obvious answers and some surprises lie ahead. Read on for just how long will it be until restrictions are relaxed.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green.
“We’ve reached now 90% of everyone 12 and older” to have had at least one vaccination. In addition, nearly 5% of the state’s population is believed to have had Covid, “which is to say that there is a lot of immunity,” according to the Lt. Gov. physician, who added, “that’s why our cases keep dropping.” The number of those infected is down by 50% in just the past few weeks, also according to Green, who concluded, “that means our hospitalizations will come down. Fatalities will come down. That will be the rationale to reduce (travel) restrictions.”
Governor David Ige.
Ige said yesterday that, while very pleased that so many people have been vaccinated, it is premature to change any of the rules, including those recently implemented, such as vaccine passports. “We still have too many cases,” he said. The state says that 79% of “eligible residents” are now fully vaccinated.
Ige said he anticipates encouraging tourism this year after asking visitors to stay away through October just a month ago. That admonition, albeit without “teeth,” significantly discouraged visitors and impacted airlines, hotels, restaurants, and activities reliant on tourism.
How long will it be until restrictions are relaxed?
Ige said yesterday, “please be patient for another two, four, six weeks because we are making progress.” That came as the number of new cases was only 255 yesterday and 240 today, which are the lowest numbers in several months. Ige said specifically that he is “hopeful that we will release more restrictions and be able to invite those who are vaccinated back to the islands. We do know it’s important to our economy and important to getting everyone back to work.” He added, Hawaii will again be “more aggressive and active in encouraging visitors to return, especially those that are vaccinated.”Rules we expect to see relaxed first include capacity limits currently imposed across the travel industry.
International arrivals to Hawaii to resume.
The US is preparing to welcome vaccinated travelers from outside the country. While details weren’t mentioned, Hawaii will be joining in that effort. Ige said that “full recovery cannot occur if we don’t have international travelers.” International arrivals make up a significant percentage of Hawaii visitors, and they typically spend more in Hawaii than do domestic tourists.