Governor Ige said following our post yesterday, that he no longer sees the elimination of the Safe Travels testing protocol for fully vaccinated travelers before July 4. “I looked at the data, and I don’t believe that we’ll cross 60% prior to the Fourth of July weekend.” The volume of newly vaccinated individuals continues to fall, to what Ige said is 1/2 of what it was last month. Hawaii currently is at 57%.
It was Governor Ige who previously set July 4 as the target date to eliminate testing for fully vaccinated travelers. Last month, Ige confirmed that multiple times, saying, “We do know the CDC guidance that there’s little risk. We know that we have to get there. We have to be able to allow vaccinated travelers to come here transpacific because that will help us get more people back to work.”
What’s so important about July 4?
The week leading up to July 4 is one of the busiest weeks of the year in Hawaii travel. So it makes sense that it was originally targeted for this change in policy, and why the issue is coming up again. Also, given that this is just next week, a huge number of Hawaii-bound visitors will now need to scramble in order to find testing prior to their vacations.
Ige accuses Lieutenant Governor of sowing confusion.
Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial hopeful Josh Green, M.D., said yesterday that he is concerned that arriving visitors will be confused by both the change in plans from July 4 and because data they get may not clearly indicate where Hawaii stands in terms of percentage fully vaccinated. He wants a date certain to be set to help clarify this.
In response, the governor said that visitors 1) are fully aware of the rules and that airlines are informing their passengers, 2) that the rules are unchanged, and 3) that the source of the confusion is actually the Lt. Gov.
To see what the current rules are, refer to our Latest Summer Guide to Hawaii Travel During Covid.
Ige said, “I believe there’s absolutely no confusion and no possibility for chaos… I don’t know where that chaos would be coming from, except that it would come from the lieutenant governor.”
Is it confusing or is it not?
Frequent commenter Ed just said, “If the governor thinks visitors are aware of the rules, all he needs to do is read BOH and see the constant stream of questions from people who don’t understand or even know of the rules.” Good point Ed!
Another comment even questioned whether the elimination of testing is happening at all, saying, “Does anyone really think Ige will lift the travel restrictions and capacity limits at 60 and 70%? New variant, coming as the next excuse real soon.”
And David just added, “It would be better to pick a date certain such as August 1 whereby you can be reasonably sure that the 60 percent requirement will be reached, rather than a last minute change the moment the 60 percent level is met. This will allow travelers to make reasonable plans in advance without worrying about the vaccination rates. Also it is not helpful to keep getting mixed messages from the Governor and lieutenant governor only confusing matters further.”