“I know that this change has been widely anticipated, and it will make it easier for residents to return home and for visitors to come and enjoy our islands,” Ige told reporters.
In June, Hawaii officials announced plans to lift travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors when 60% of the state’s residents were fully vaccinated. The vaccination figure was hovering around 57% in recent weeks, but Ige said he expected it to cross the necessary threshold by July 8.
If vaccination numbers continue to improve in Hawaii and across the U.S., Hawaii could remove all travel restrictions, including those for unvaccinated tourists, by the end of the summer.
Last October, the Aloha State introduced the pre-travel testing program as a way for tourists to avoid its mandated quarantine. The program requires travelers to take a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test from a certified lab on a list of state-approved providers.
Tests have to be taken within 72 hours of departure to Hawaii, and the results have to be uploaded to the Safe Travels app before the flight takes off.
Travelers who fail to comply with these requirements must quarantine for 10 days in a hotel or board the next flight home. Hawaii doesn’t allow tourists to take tests on arrival or make exceptions for those who present the wrong type of test results.
These strict protocols have helped Hawaii maintain relatively low COVID-19 numbers throughout the pandemic. As of July 7, the state had reported a total of 36,714 infections and 515 deaths.