Friday, June 24, 2022|
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Nearly all COVID-19 restrictions in Hawaii will be lifted before the end of the month.
At a news conference Tuesday, Gov. David Ige announced that the post-travel quarantine and Safe Travels program will end March 25.
Beginning March 26, domestic travelers flying into Hawaii will no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test in order to avoid a post-arrival quarantine.
At the same time, Ige said, state and county employees no longer will be required to provide their vaccination status or a negative COVID test.
The only two restrictions that may still be in place after March 25 are the restrictions on international travel — which are set by the federal government — and the statewide indoor mask mandate.
“The state Department of Health is reviewing the … last suggestions by the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), we continue to monitor the COVID cases as well as the hospital status, and will be moving forward based on that information,” Ige said, later adding that he does not expect to drop the mask mandate before the 25th.
Ige’s announcement came one day after Mayor Mitch Roth announced the immediate end of all countywide COVID restrictions, most notably the restrictions on indoor and outdoor gathering sizes.
Ross Birch, Executive Director for the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said the end of county restrictions will likely have a more immediate effect on tourism than the end of Safe Travels.
“From a group standpoint, it means that maybe we’ll see more tour groups booking trips to the island,” Birch said.
Currently, Birch said, travel to the Big Island is still 25-30% down from before the pandemic, but that shortfall likely will not be filled until international travel can freely resume.
“I don’t really see a major change happening because of Safe Travels (ending),” Birch said. “What it does is really just make it easier to come here, but there will probably not be too much of an adjustment.”
Despite his announcement, Ige urged residents to remain vigilant, saying that the novel coronavirus remains a threat.
“The pandemic is not over,” Ige said. “Tragically, we continue to see those that we know and love continue to suffer from COVID-19. In the month of February, we reported 143 COVID-related deaths, and each one is a tragic loss to our community. … You do not need an emergency proclamation to take precautions.”
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