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Hawai‘i adjusts COVID travel requirements June 15

HONOLULU — Starting June 15, the state will end pre-travel restrictions on inter-county travel, ending testing and quarantine requirements, Gov. David Ige announced Friday.

A quarantine exception for incoming travelers for Hawai‘i-vaccinated travelers will also begin for trans-Pacific travel.

“If residents traveled to the mainland and returned back to Hawai‘i on or after June 15, and have received one or both shots of their vaccination, may bypass quarantine without a pre-travel test,” Ige said.

According to the Department of Health’s report on Friday morning, the state is at 52% vaccinated statewide and increasing, which is something he considers to celebrate.

When the state reaches a 60% vaccination rate, individuals vaccinated in the United States traveling domestically will be able to bypass the testing and quarantine requirements with proof of vaccination through the state’s Safe Travels program.

When all counties together statewide reach a fully vaccinated rate of 70%, all restrictions on travel will be lifted and the Safe Travels program will end, Ige said.

“I want to be very clear that all of this is subject to continuous monitoring of the Department of Health for the impact on variants and other health determinants in our community, such as health care capacity, and other health public health measures,” Ige said. “We will always take appropriate action should there be a health crisis in our community. I can and will change policies based on the health conditions that we see and the rate of virus circulating in our community.”

Ige praised the community’s continued participation in getting everyone vaccinated because he believes it’s the reason the state as a whole is much closer to protecting public health, re-energizing Hawai‘i’s economy, and strengthening the communities.

“After six months, we know that the vaccinations are safe, Ige said. “And in fact, the evidence is clear. There are dramatically fewer COVID cases among those who have been vaccinated. It’s also true that the virus continues to circulate in our communities among people who have not been vaccinated.”

According to Ige, additional announcements are expected next week when the governor issues a 21st emergency proclamation for COVID-19.

“We all want life to return to normal again, and we’ve learned that vaccines are paving the quickest path towards that goal,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said. “Our state is heading in the right direction because of the collective work of our communities. We now have a statewide vaccine goal, and the Governor’s plan fits nicely with our new tier benchmarks tied to vaccination rates approved last month. I encourage everyone to do their part and get vaccinated if they are able. Now is the time.”

DOH’s Director Libby Char said the state distributed over 1.5 million vaccine shots state-wide so far.

“We’ve seen a decrease in cases,” Char said. “And we’re currently sitting at about 52 new cases per day on average, over the past 14 days. And we’re able to further open travel as you just heard from the governor. So very exciting news. We have over 800,000 people that have been out and getting vaccinated.”

Char said in the month of June alone, there will be over 300 locations across the state where a person can get vaccinated.

“This is an excellent example of policy-makers and the Department of Health working together to make the best decisions possible to support the well-being of our community,” Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said.

To motivate residents to get their COVID-19 vaccination done, the state created a “#HIGOTVACCINATED” program for residents who got vaccinated. By showing their vaccination cards at participating restaurants and stores, they will receive a discount and they can win prizes from different businesses around the state.

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Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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