Gov. David Ige announced today that the Safe Travels Hawaii program will end when the current emergency proclamation expires at midnight on March 25.
Ige also said after March 25, state and county employees will no longer be required to provide vaccination status or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to their various departments or agencies. Visitors will likewise no longer need to provide proof of their vaccination status or a negative test result to enter state properties.
The governor, however, stood firm on his decision to keep the statewide indoor mask mandate in place through March 25.
“The state Department of Health is reviewing the requirements and the changes in mask requirements and suggestions by the CDC,” he said. “We continue to monitor the COVID-19 cases as well as the hospital status and will be moving forward based on that information.”
Ige said the state would continue to closely monitor the outcomes of changes to programs all across the country as well as CDC recommendations before making any changes to Hawaii’s statewide indoor mask requirement.
“We do know that the mask mandate works and we will continue having the indoor mask mandate,” Ige said, adding that state health officials will review the science to determine when it will be appropriate to drop the statewide indoor mask requirement.
Although new coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations in Hawaii are dropping, Ige said, “The pandemic is not over. Tragically, we continue to see those that we know and love continue to suffer from COVID-19. In the month of February we reported 143 COVID-related deaths.”
Masks will still be required for indoor workplaces and airports and public schools, he said. Also, incoming domestic travelers will need to comply with Safe Travels until March 25.
Ige said the state has now screened more than 11 million passengers, including visitors and returning residents through Safe Travels.
The program allowed travelers to bypass a mandatory, five-day quarantine if they could show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test no more than 72 hours before the final leg of their trip to Hawaii.
International travelers are still subject to federal requirements.
Pop-up vaccination clinics will be scaled back, with the state shifting testing responsibilities to traditional health administration locations such as hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices. Ige said the state will continue to have the capacity to erect pop-up clinics to respond to surges on an as-needed basis.
Both the governor and mayors will continue to encourage vaccinations and boosters, which Ige characterized as crucial in the fight against COVID-19.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino and Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth were also present during today’s press conference.
Watch the livestream video above.
Editor’s Note: This story is developing and will be updated as soon as more information becomes available.