There’s a change in the air throughout Hawaii today. It’s our last day wearing masks. In the past two years, we’ve had everything from nightly curfews, closed beaches, National Guard roadblocks on the highway to make sure we were only doing essential errands, tourism shut down, and family gatherings put on hold. We can recall going to beaches when it was only permitted to enter the water, but not to stop on the sand. And then there were the checkpoints at all of our airports. What wild times.
Starting at midnight tonight, we will at long last mark the end of the state’s emergency Covid proclamation. With that goes both the Hawaii Safe Travels program and the indoor mask mandate. Businesses are free to require masks if they choose to do so. We haven’t heard of any who are doing that, and rather have seen notices saying that masks will no longer be required.
From tomorrow, when you travel to Hawaii, it is going to be just like it was before we ever heard of Covid. This comes as great news for many, including those heading to the islands for spring break. We are anticipating up to 1 million visitor arrivals in the 30 days following Safe Travels’ elimination.
Arriving domestic visitors and residents alike will no longer have to follow any Covid regulations. There will be no Safe Travels account to set up, and no testing or vaccination rules either. There will be no Covid screening of any kind before or after travel to Hawaii. International arrivals aren’t governed by Hawaii rules, but rather those of the CDC, as will continue to be the case.
Governor Ige said, “this has been a long journey for all of us. Hawaii has had the fewest cases per capita in the country and the second lowest death rate in the country thanks to all of us pulling together as a community. Each one of you has contributed to protecting public health, revitalizing our economy, and strengthening our communities.”
We have also had masks required at some outdoor venues, such as farmers’ markets, where as far as we understand, the chances of getting Covid are virtually non-existent. And we’re certainly looking forward to moving on in life.
What’s it going to be like for you?