Here’s what you need to know about how travel restrictions are easing
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The governor announced a new vaccination incentives program last week that gives people who get the shot the chance to win big prizes.
But he made some other big news that could also help convince folks to roll up their sleeves.
Come June 15, Hawaii’s travel restrictions will dramatically ease, especially for vaccinated residents.
For starters, Neighbor Island quarantine rules will drop entirely. And for those who have been vaccinated in Hawaii, the trans-Pacific quarantine rules will also change.
Here’s what you need to know:
How are the inter-island travel rules changing?
On June 15, the quarantine rules for those traveling inter-island will go away entirely.
The governor said he made the decision because Hawaii is poised to hit a 55% vaccination rate by then and case totals are relatively low statewide.
Right now, those traveling from Oahu to a Neighbor Island and those traveling between Neighbor Islands must test negative for COVID-19 or present proof of vaccination.
What’s changing for trans-Pacific travel?
There will also be a big change June 15 to trans-Pacific travel.
That’s when those arriving from the mainland who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Hawaii will be able to forgo the 10-day quarantine without getting a COVID test.
Note that key requirement: To qualify, you’ll have to have been vaccinated in Hawaii.
That means this exemption applies mostly to Hawaii residents.
Kids under 12 can’t be vaccinated yet. How do families qualify for a quarantine exemption?
Those who can’t be vaccinated can still get a quarantine exemption by testing negative for COVID-19.
That’s a hassle for families traveling with young children, Hawaii officials acknowledged.
For more on the testing rules, click here.
When will visitors be allowed to qualify for the “vaccine passport” program?
After opening to those vaccinated in Hawaii, the next step in Hawaii’s “vaccine passport” program will be to allow those vaccinated on the mainland to qualify for a quarantine exemption.
That, the governor said, will happen when Hawaii reaches a vaccination rate of 60%.
Right now, about 52% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated.
Even without a vaccine passport program in place, Hawaii has seen a flood of trans-Pacific arrivals ― with most seeking a quarantine exemption by testing negative for COVID-19.
A 70% vaccination rate is the magic number. What happens then?
When the state hits a 70% vaccination rate, all travel restrictions will drop.
Yes, all of them, the governor said.
Plus, all other emergency rules will end, too, including capacity restrictions on businesses and the mask mandate.
So when will Hawaii get to 70%?
Experts say we could hit the milestone by late summer, but that’s only if we hit vaccination targets along the way.
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