Just two weeks after Hawai‘i Governor David Ige said that a COVID booster shot requirement will soon be added to the state’s Safe Travels program for arrivals, the governor has changed course, announcing Tuesday that the current vaccination requirement for bypassing quarantine will remain unchanged.
“In making this decision, we considered declining COVID-19 case counts in Hawai‘i, the continental U.S., and Europe,” Governor Ige said in a statement. “At this time, we will also maintain the indoor mask mandate and other rules that have helped us manage this pandemic while reopening the economy.”
In July 2021, Hawai‘i dropped its pretravel COVID testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers—and as per the governor’s February 8 announcement, booster shots will not be required for individuals’ vaccination status to be considered “up to date.” Domestic travelers are considered fully vaccinated starting on the 15th day after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or on the 15th day after their single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Travelers heading to Hawai‘i must fill out the online health application on the state’s Safe Travels website at least 24 hours prior to departure, and once the form is complete they will receive a QR code via email. They can then scan the QR code from their mobile device or from a printed-out version at the airport upon arrival.
Vaccinated Hawai‘i-bound travelers will need to upload their vaccination certificate to Hawai‘i’s Safe Travels portal. They should either bring a hard copy of their vaccination documentation to present upon boarding and on arrival in Hawai‘i, and/or provide digital vaccine certificates from Azova, Clear, or CommonPass. The documents will be compared with photo identification for verification.
Children under age five are not required to submit a COVID test or quarantine when traveling with an adult who is vaccinated or who is participating in the pretravel testing program. Children age five years and older who are not vaccinated must participate in the pretravel testing program to bypass the otherwise mandatory five-day quarantine. (The quarantine had previously been 10 days.)
Those who are not fully vaccinated can still participate in Hawai‘i’s pretravel testing program to avoid the otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine. Unvaccinated out-of-state travelers (age five and older) arriving in Hawaii will need to provide proof of a negative FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (such as a PCR test) result taken within 72 hours of boarding. Test results will only be accepted from a list of approved clinics and testing providers. The negative test result must be uploaded onto the Safe Travels platform or printed out prior to departure.
Maui drops booster requirement, too
The announcement from Governor Ige comes not long after the island of Maui pulled a similar turnaround move.
After Maui Mayor Michael Victorino last month made vaccine boosters a requirement for entering restaurants and gyms, Victorino dropped the booster rule on February 6.
Individuals will still be required to be fully vaccinated to enter dining and other indoor venues; they just aren’t required to be boosted.