Dependent on the results of a Disease Control and Prevention study that would determine if vaccinated people can transmit COVID-19, Hawaii is planning to exempt those individuals from testing and quarantine, according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
Current regulations in the nation’s 50th state require visitors to either present a negative COVID-19 test result or participate in a 10-day quarantine.
Green added that he has already proposed this policy change to David Ige, his state’s governor.
The hope is that travelers, once vaccinated and allowed free entry into Hawaii, will experience greater interest in traveling here.
Although just 16,200,000 people – 3% of the United States population – have been vaccinated so far, that number is expected to multiply 10 times over in the coming months; President Joe Biden has stated that he wants 100,000,000 Americans vaccinated within his initial 100 days in office.
Most experts expect that the CDC’s study will result in vaccinated people being shown to not be infectious.
The hopes are also high that intra-Hawaii travel will soon become easier as well. Although quarantine is not required of those traveling from elsewhere in Hawaii to Oahu, the island that is home to Honolulu, pre-departure testing or a 10-day quarantine is generally required of those engaging in interisland travel to Kauai, Hawaii and Maui Counties.
Hawaii is currently experiencing sluggishness in its attempt to return to pre-pandemic travel numbers, but some progress is being made.
For example, the state averaged 4,720 incoming travelers per day on the four Wednesdays in October while recording an average of 7,940 visitors on the three Wednesdays that have occurred so far in January, an increase of 68%.
The tourism industry is an important element of the state’s economy. In 2019, visitors spent $18 billion here, which also resulted in $2 billion in state tax revenue. Hawaii welcomed 28,562 visitors on an average day that year.
Within Hawaii, the COVID-19 infection rate has been increasing at a reduced pace, not going up by more than 0.52% between Jan. 17 and 20. That has resulted in 397 more cases in that four-day span.