Hawaii To Eliminate COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Vaccinated Travelers

Hawaii will relax COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions once its latest vaccination goal is met on July 8, Gov. David Ige announced on Thursday.

According to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser , the islands are expected to achieve a statewide average of a 60 percent full vaccination rate by early next month. If all goes to plan, out-of-state visitors from the mainland U.S. who have been fully vaccinated (two weeks after final shot) would be allowed to bypass Hawaii's 10-day mandatory quarantine without testing within 72 hours of departure as long as they upload their COVID-19 vaccination records to the state's Safe Travels website and arrive with a hard copy of their CDC vaccination card.

Ige said that the "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."

Travelers to the islands can expect other eased restrictions beginning July 8 as well, as the number of people allowed to attend social gatherings will increase from 10 to 25 people indoors while the maximum size of outdoor gatherings will increase from 25 to 75 people. Meanwhile, restaurants will be permitted to increase seating capacity to 75 percent of the maximum allowed capacity. However, they can seat no more than 25 customers indoors and no more than 75 outdoors.

Face-coverings will still be required indoors until Hawaii reaches a 70 percent vaccination rate, at which time all restrictions will be lifted. "The Safe Travels program will end and we will invite everyone to be able to travel to our islands," Ige said, referring to the state's goal of inoculating more than two-thirds of its population in the coming weeks and months.

Officials had hoped to eliminate the testing requirement for vaccinated travelers by the July 4 holiday but Independence Day visitors looking to avoid quarantine will still require a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a trusted testing and travel partner taken within 72 hours of departing on the last leg of their trip to Hawaii, with the result being uploaded prior to departure of the last leg.

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Xiangdong Lai