Travelers to Hawaii might soon have to provide proof that they’ve received a COVID-19 booster shot if they wish to avoid quarantining upon arrival. Previously, travelers who’ve had two doses would have counted as fully vaccinated.
Following Hawaii’s Safe Travels program rules, visitors who aren’t fully vaccinated must self-quarantine for five days upon the arrival. That’s down from the previous 10-day requirement Hawaii enforced until the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shortened its quarantine recommendation.
The booster requirement will go into action in the next few weeks, giving visitors a chance to get boosted before heading to the island. This delay in implementation will be helpful to the island’s tourism industry.
The CDC still deems people who’ve had two doses fully vaccinated, but that stance is becoming increasingly unpopular. Various state agencies and organizations now view only boosted individuals as fully vaccinated.
Anyone facing quarantine requirements will be unable to enter restaurants, events, and other tourist attractions. Gov. David Ige stated that enforcement will be up to county mayors throughout the state.
However, he also noted his willingness to issue a statewide mandate if new cases of COVID-19 start to strain Hawaiian hospitals.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) had already announced alterations to the state’s Safe Travels program in early January. Those changes included the reduction in required quarantine time from 10 days to five.
Hawaii is currently seeing a massive spike in emergent cases of COVID-19, but death rates have stayed low. On average, two people per day have died over the past week.
The same trends can be seen throughout the country, where the Omicron variant has spread rapidly while showing itself to be relatively mild in most individuals. Though nearly one million new cases were recorded on Jan. 14, death rates have not increased proportionally.