Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green is urging the state to commit to dropping its COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated mainland visitors ahead of the Fourth of July weekend to avoid “chaos at the airports.”
“It’s just really important that Hawaii not get a black eye by being unclear,” said Green. He said the state should announce the testing requirement will end July 1. If the state waits until after the holiday weekend — when Hawaii is expecting about 30,000 visitors a day — then “we are going to have a lot of confusion and a lot of large conflicts,” said Green on Monday.
Gov. David Ige was reluctant to make such a commitment during a press conference Monday. The governor announced earlier this month that requirements for vaccinated domestic travelers would end once 60% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated against COVID. As of Monday, that figure stood at 57% of the population.
Ige said that his administration is monitoring the state’s vaccination numbers and will make an announcement ahead of when the mainland travel requirements will be dropped. The advance notice will give travelers and travel-related companies time to prepare for the lifting of restrictions, Ige said.
Ige cautioned that number of people getting vaccinated each day is declining which will delay getting to the key 60% level.
“We do anticipate crossing that 60% threshold,” said Ige. “It is hard to predict exactly when that would happen because of the fact that the pace of vaccinations is actually slowing and the number of vaccines administered in the last week is significantly lower than the number of vaccines administered, for example, two weeks ago.”
Ige urged everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to do get the shots, saying that is the fastest way for the state to get back to normal.
Currently domestic travelers have to receive a negative COVID test from an approved testing partner within 72 hours of arriving in Hawaii, or quarantine for 10 days. When the requirement is dropped, travelers from the mainland, Alaska and U.S. territories will be able to upload their vaccination cards to the state’s Safe Travels app to avoid the testing and quarantine requirements.