Gov. David Ige announced today that beginning June 15, the state will be ending restrictions on intercounty travel between the Hawaiian islands and extend the quarantine exemption for returning Hawaii travelers who verify being fully vaccinated in the state.
“Those returning who have been vaccinated in the state with one or both shots will be able to travel (to the mainland) without having to get a pre-travel test and can arrive here in the islands and not be subject to quarantine,” Ige said.
By mid-June, Ige said the state expects 55% of the population to be fully vaccinated.
Once Hawaii reaches 60% fully vaccinated statewide, visitors from the mainland, Alaska and U.S. territories may also skip the current, mandatory 10-day quarantine period or COVID-19 pre-travel testing if they can provide proof of their vaccination status.
“We would be working to verify that electronically,” said Ige, adding that the cards from mainland visitors can also be verified manually.
When Hawaii reaches the goal of 70% vaccinated statewide, essentially all travel and COVID-19 public health restrictions will be lifted, Ige said, and there will no longer be a need for the Safe Travels program. That is also the milestone at which he expects to lift indoor mask mandates, he said.
All of this, he said, is subject to the continued monitoring of COVID-19 variants as well as health capacity, he said.
“We will always take appropriate action should there be a health crisis in our community,” he said. “I can and will change policies based on the health conditions that we see and the rate of virus circulating in our community.”
Ige said he has designated June as #HiGotVaccinated month to motivate more people in Hawaii to get vaccinated.
In addition to offering more vaccination sites and accessibility, the state is launching an incentives campaign, with a variety of prizes and discounts this month.
Among the prizes are 1 million HawaiianMiles from Hawaiian Airlines, distributed as 10 prizes of 100,000 each, along with a trip to Las Vegas for two from Vacations Hawaii, four roundtrips for two from Alaska Airlines, a one-year auto lease from AutoSource, Zippy’s for a year, Papa John’s Pizza for a year and more.
“The positive effect of vaccination is clear,” said DOH Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “We’ve seen a decrease in cases.”
Hawaii’s average of daily new cases has dropped to 52, said Char, reflecting the positive effect of the vaccines.
“But we’re not done yet,” she said. “We need to continue this progress. That’s why the Department of Health is focusing our efforts to excite and engage those who are not yet vaccinated.”
This month, there will be more than 300 locations across the state, she said — from malls to farmer’s markets and churches — offering COVID-19 vaccines. There will also be continued outreach to communities through partners, along with new PSAs hitting the circuits that include Q&As with local physicians.
All of the prizes, deals and discounts are listed at higotvaccinated.com.
Discounts for those who can show their vaccination cards this month include a free hula pie or calamari on the day of vaccination at Duke’s or Hula Grill in Waikiki, a free soft drink with purchase at Ruby Tuesday’s and a 10% discount at Watanabe Floral.
In the first moments of the launch, the website crashed, but was back up again, and had more than 1,100 registered by the end of the hour. More prizes and deals will be listed as they become available this month.
Currently, 52% of Hawaii’s population has been fully vaccinated as of Thursday, according to state health officials.
The vaccination rate will be based on Hawaii’s total state population of about 1.4 million, Char said, even though children under 12 are not currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines.
The state will base its policies based on the Health Department’s statistics rather than those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which sometimes range higher. But the state’s vaccination data will include federal data, Char said, including numbers pulled from the military and Veterans Affairs.
Guest speakers who attended today’s press conference also included Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, Hawaii Restaurant Association Executive Director Sheryl Matsuoka and Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram.
Watch the livestream video above.
Editor’s Note: This story is developing and will be updated as soon as more information becomes available.