Ige suggests state could drop all COVID restrictions before reaching 70% vaccination rate

Gov. David Ige on Thursday suggested the state could drop all COVID restrictions even before reaching a 70% vaccination rate.
Published: Jun. 18, 2021 at 8:25 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 11:14 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After defending his push to get to a 70% vaccination rate before lifting all COVID restrictions, Gov. David Ige suggested Thursday he may be changing his mind on the matter.

“If we see the case counts drop before we hit 70%, then that’s another way that we would drop all restrictions,” Ige said, speaking at a news conference on an unrelated matter.

“It is about the virus activity, how much virus is circulating in our community, and what the health care capacity of our community is that would determine when the restrictions get released.”

That would mean no more indoor mask mandate, travel restrictions or capacity limits.

The statements come as much of the mainland US has reopened fully, including a number of key tourism destinations, and as businesses are calling on the governor to reconsider the rules.

Right now, 56% of the population is vaccinated, according to state Health Department figures.

The state has been averaging 47 cases a day for the past seven days. It’s not clear how low Ige wants to see the case count drop before lifting restrictions.

Previously, Ige said all COVID restrictions in Hawaii would essentially end when the state reaches 70% — and that he was confident it would hit that benchmark by the end of the summer.

However, he has also admitted that vaccine demand has dropped again.

He said the state is currently preparing for the 60% vaccination milestone.

When that happens, trans-Pacific travelers who have been vaccinated in other states will be able to skip pre-travel testing and quarantine requirements. Ige said in the next two weeks, the state will be ready to verify a person’s out-of-state vaccination status.

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