“I would expect those restrictions to start falling in the spring,” he said. “But one thing we learned about covid is that it sometimes throws a curveball. People hadn’t really predicted a highly contagious variant of omicron; otherwise we would have been there already.
Flying to Hawaii today – as more than 23,000 people did Saturday — travelers Homework show proof of vaccination or a negative test if they want to avoid a five-day quarantine. Officials in Hawaii said last year that once the state was 70% vaccinated, travel restrictions would be lifted. The push for the highly contagious omicron variant foiled this plan.
As with the rest of the United States, Americans returning from overseas will still be required to present a negative coronavirus test taken no earlier than 24 hours prior to departure for Hawaii. Foreign travelers will need to provide proof of vaccination and a negative test result.
Green, a physician, said Hawaii’s peak during omicron on Jan. 24 saw 58,000 active cases and 418 hospitalizations. During the delta wave’s earlier peak in early September, there were 11,500 cases and 448 people hospitalized.
On Tuesday, the state was 66% below its peak for active cases and nearly 49% below its peak for hospitalizations, Green said. Hawaii is more than 75% fully vaccinated and more than 36% of residents have received boosters, he said.
During the omicron surge, Governor David Ige (D) noted the state might consider only those who received a booster shot as fully vaccinated under the terms of the Safe Travels program. Green said the review was ongoing as the number of hospitalized patients increased. But he said such a change would have taken around three weeks to implement and apply at the airport – and then the numbers started to drop.
Ige announced on Tuesday that reminders would not be required to consider vaccinated visitors to be “up to date” on their shots. In one declarationhe said the decision took into account the declining number of cases in the state, the contiguous United States and Europe, as well as a lower number of hospitalizations.
“In addition, we looked at Hawaii’s robust vaccination rates and the continued efforts of companies and organizations to get their employees vaccinated and strengthened for the safety of their families and the community,” he said. in the declaration. “For the time being, we will also maintain the indoor mask mandate and other rules that have helped us manage this pandemic while reopening the economy.”
Hawaii’s incident commander for the covid-19 response, Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, said in the statement that authorities made the decision in coordination with county mayors and the health department and in conjunction with the travel industry and the business world.
“I am exceptionally pleased that the number of cases and hospitalizations are trending down and hope that conditions continue to improve so that the state can eventually end Safe Travels and all COVID-related restrictions- 19,” he said.
On Friday, Maui’s mayor said the county is removing the short-term requirement that eligible people be encouraged to eat at bars or restaurants or exercise at gyms. Instead, the county simply recommends that people be encouraged to participate in these activities. The rule went into effect on January 24 and was lifted on Monday. Restaurant owners had complained the rule would lead to cancellations and lower visitor spending, Maui Now reported.
Green said tourism in the state was still about 30 to 40 percent below 2019 numbers, but was nearly back to baseline before the omicron variant emerged.
“I think it’s safe to say that it would be wise for people to keep a close eye on Hawaii because we may very well be able to welcome everyone in by spring,” he said.