BREAKING: Hawaiʻi Eases Travel and Gathering Guidelines on July 8 as Vaccination Rate Nears 60%
June 24, 2021, 1:39 PM HST
* Updated June 25, 12:14 PM
Hawaiʻi is expected to reach a 60% fully vaccinated rate by July 8, which will result in relaxed rules relating to travel and social gatherings.
Beginning July 8:
- Hawaiʻi will accept vaccination records from other states and US territories to bypass quarantine/pre-travel testing.
- Social gatherings will increase from the current 10 individuals to 25 indoors and from 25 individuals currently to 75 outdoors statewide.
- Restaurants will be able to seat up to 75% of their capacity (with a maximum group size of 25 indoors and 75 outdoors).
*This change does not directly impact weddings which are governed by the proclamations issued by each county.
Governor David Ige made the announcement today during an afternoon press briefing. “The vaccination rates have risen and we’ve worked closely together to implement the policy changes that protect public health, reenergize our economy and sustain our communities,” he said.
Effective July 8, individuals traveling in US , who are traveling domestically, will be able to bypass quarantine and pre-travel testing requirements when traveling to Hawaiʻi if they are fully vaccinated. Travelers must upload their vaccination records into the state’s Safe Travels Program and must bring a hard copy of their vaccination record with them on their trip to Hawaiʻi.
“I know this change has been widely anticipated and it will make it easier for residents to return home and for visitors to come and enjoy our islands,” said Gov. Ige. “I want to emphasize though, that those traveling prior to July 8 will be subject to the pre-travel testing program and subject to quarantine.”
70% Vaccination Rate Milestone Could Take Two Months
“This milestone is truly something to celebrate. I think we all have been working hard. I appreciate everyone making vacations a priority,” said Gov. Ige. “While incentives are nice, the most important thing is the the more our people are vaccinated, we will see better health outcomes and we will get back to normal sooner. When we reach the fully vaccinated rate of 70% statewide we will drop all COVID-19 related emergency restrictions, the Safe Travels program will end, and we will invite everyone to be able to travel to our islands.”
Gov. Ige said it’s hard to pinpoint a specific date for reaching the milestone 70% vaccination rate, but said, “It definitely would be another couple of months–probably two months.”
He said the state continues to advocate for everyone to get vaccinated. “We are looking at the vaccination data and when we see communities that are below the statewide average, we are organizing targeted vaccination opportunities in those communities. We’re committed to making it as easy as possible for those in our community to get vaccinated,” said Gov. Ige.
“All of this is subject to the monitoring by the Department of Health. We continue to look for variants. We continue to do the work to ensure the health and safety of our community, and we will take action as appropriate if necessary,” said Gov. Ige.
County Mayors on Board with July 8 Timeline
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino echoed similar sentiments saying, “I’m excited. Maui County stands poised like all the other counties to contribute and to be a big part of this change.”
In response to questioning about the current pace of re-opening, Mayor Victorino said, “As you know Maui has grown rapidly with the recovery as our visitor industry is bar none to Oʻahu. It has taxed some of our infrastructure and other areas–so it is concerning. It’s also taxing a lot of our resources–the Road to Hāna… Yes, it’s been a mixed-bag of good and not-so-good. But we’re working through all of this, but I’m happy with the pace we are (at). Maybe be are a little bit too fast for Maui, I will say; however, we are going to manage it and come out of this Maui Nui Strong. I’m very happy overall.”
Kauaʻi Mayor Derek Kawakami agreed with the timeline saying and said he appreciates the flexibility given to the counties. “We’re ready to get on board come July 8–This is coming from the sheep that has strayed away from the herd early on… We’ve been so much in sync in far as communication. Our plan is to get to tier 5 which looks pretty consistent with the state and other counties as well.”
Delta variant continues to spread in Fall,is there a back up plan to reach 70%. I think it’s separate but related questions. we are committed to the 70 percent threshold. risk of spread of covid would be significantly reduced that would allow us to drop the restrictions. when we look at specific virus activities and the delta variant, it’s concerning. easier to transmit and spreads faster through communities. it appears, although science is still working on determining sicker or fatality rate… should there be an outbreak and should we see high disease counts for a sustained period, we would look at restrictions to put in place to effectively control that outbreak. encouraging or requiring mask wearing or other mitigation strategies. We wold be looking at other kinds of restrictions to control any future outbreak of the virus.