Today it was announced that the state has administered over one-half million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Exactly what does that mean to Hawaii travel resumption?
First, per the CDC, Hawaii now ranks 7th per capita in vaccines administered. Hospitality and travel industry workers have all been given the opportunity to be vaccinated as have other frontline workers. That’s good news for those vaccinated and for those visitors they will be working with.
Yet, at the same time, the CDC continues to say that we should not travel and has not provided travel guidelines for those who have been vaccinated. They still say that “Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time.”
With Hawaii seeing its biggest travel days in over a year in this past week, it is obvious that the public feels distanced by CDC’s travel non-guidance. With vaccinations well ramped up, especially here in Hawaii, and case rates on the decline, vacationers aren’t following the guidance that was to have already been updated. We were expecting the CDC to provide positive travel directives in its March 8 announcement. That, however, was pulled at the last moment. The remaining issues CDC grapples with are whether the vaccines are truly effective against variants, can vaccinated individuals asymptomatically spread COVID, and how long does vaccination last.
CDC says, “Until we know more about those questions, everyone — even people who’ve had their vaccines — should continue taking basic prevention steps when recommended.” And, the CDC indicates not enough people have been vaccinated to deem that travel is safe once again.
We still anticipate that the CDC is close to offering ideas on how to vacation safely rather than suggest we not travel. Everything we read from public health experts indicates that lifting restrictions on travel for those who have been vaccinated follows the science when done with obvious additional precautions, which we have all become accustomed to.
With international travel still not likely for some time, Hawaii is looking better and better.
People are clearly yearning for Hawaii vacations, and many of us here are anxious to visit family who we haven’t seen now for a long time.
Airplanes are generally safe, based on their track record to date with COVID, when passengers adhere to safety rules. On the other hand, airports can still be crowded, as can other forms of transportation that are a part of Hawaii vacations. Those need to be addressed.
We also don’t know if testing will play any further role in reopening Hawaii travel and elsewhere, especially for those who have been fully vaccinated. Many of you have made the obvious comment that when you test 3-days before flying to Hawaii, a lot can happen between then and your actual departure. That includes exposure to COVID.
When do you plan to vacation in Hawaii?
Beat of Hawaii © photo at the historic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on Big Island.