Vaccine Passport Proposal Faces Challenges; Maui Mayor Hopeful for Second Test Proposal
Just days after submitting a proposal for a pilot vaccine passport program for Maui, Mayor Michael Victorino said it does not appear promising after further discussion with the governor. “It doesn’t look like he’ll approve the (vaccine) passport, but that hasn’t been confirmed,” said Mayor Victorino during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon.
“As far as the vaccine passport, that may not come because I think the rest of the state, along with the governor feels there’s not a real accurate methodology of confirmation. I too agree that it’s kind of a difficult situation all around at this time. Until we have a central area with information being put in, that is accurate and verifiable, that will be very difficult,” said Mayor Victorino who said he initially thought it might be a good idea especially for interisland travel.
Under the program proposal, fully vaccinated individuals, with at least two weeks of incubation since their final vaccination dose, would be able to bypass the state’s 10-day quarantine without having to take a test.
Mayor Victorino is also requesting a second test requirement for arriving travelers and is also awaiting response from the governor. “As far as a second test, he is looking at it very favorably, but he hasn’t confirmed that either. So I will say I’ll await until Monday (for) his decision. I’m asking for a decision as quickly as possible so that we can institute all of our plans. They’re ready but they’e on hold until we get their approval. It will take at least 7-10 working days to get it implemented, so the quicker we can get a response, especially if it’s positive, the quicker we can get it in place.”
“I really am looking forward to a second test. I think that’s something that’s doable,” said Mayor Victorino.
Under the proposal, a rapid test would be available at the airport for this additional test. “This will guarantee that the Safe Travels program, if approved by the governor, would allow us to have that second test upon arrival so that we will know if there’s any contagious people coming in,” said Mayor Victorino.
Meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released updated guidance for fully vaccinated travelers within the US, saying these travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. The guidelines include recommendations that fully vaccinated individuals would not need to get a COVID-19 test before or after travel unless their destination requires it; and do not need to self-quarantine.
Maui Now reached out to state officials for comment on plans moving forward to see if any amendments to the state rules would be made. We are currently awaiting a response.
Under current state rules, all arriving trans-Pacific passengers into Hawaiʻi are required to be tested prior to boarding flights (within the 72 hours before departure of the final leg of their trip to Hawaiʻi) or face a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
Mayor Offers War Memorial Stadium as Alternate Venue for Easter Service; Discussion Still Underway
During his press briefing, Mayor Victorino also said that he offered War Memorial Stadium for use as a “safer outdoor alternate” venue for King’s Cathedral Easter services. The state Department of Health is encouraging the church to cancel all upcoming in-person events and conduct only virtual services until a COVID-19 cluster is contained.
While the church has canceled its popular Egg Hunt and postponed its Easter production to a later date, it continued to share information on the planned in-person service at its sanctuary in Kahului, which also offered options for drive-in and virtual participation.
“The Constitution of the United States gives us the right to assemble. This is very important for people to know and understand, is that under the Constitution, today our rights are being stripped away. We may not even know it. We may not understand it. This is actually one of those situations where–where do you find that balance,” said King’s Cathedral Administrator Kelly Davison during the Mayor’s Thursday press briefing.
“Really, you’ve got to know and understand the foundation of where our rights come from… The church is classified as an essential institution that is protected by the Constitution of the United States. It is there as a beacon of hope. It is there to encourage and help people during this time. That is why we continue to have in-person services–again, following CDC guidelines and working directly with the County of Maui (and) Department of Health to be able to make sure that we honor authority, but also exercise the right as a church to be able to meet,” said Davison.
Health officials say the number of infections associated with the church now totals more than 50 with those infected ranging in age from 10 to 77 years old. The church reports that there are “33 active cases among the thousands that attend King’s Cathedral and Chapels in Maui County.”