HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lt. Gov. Josh Green announced those who are fully vaccinated may be able to travel more freely sooner rather than later.
Green said, those who get vaccinated now may soon be able to travel to see family across the islands without the hassle of paying for a COVID-19 test or having to quarantine.
He said the inter-island travel modification may come as early as April, 2021.
Green said, “We’ve have had discussions at the highest levels to begin pull back away from any need to any testing or vaccination passport for inter-island travel once the mayors all sign up I do believe that would happen.”
Green said, COVID-19 testing for those who have gotten the vaccine is not a good use of resources.
Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth said, it is time to start rolling back restrictions for travel within the state.
Roth said, “I think we’re ready, we have a lot of people who would like to get back to work and would like to do so in the safest way possible.”
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakamitold KHON2 in a statement:
“We know many visitor industry stakeholders and state leaders have expressed their desire for uniformity in travel protocols, so we anticipate this to be a statewide effort.
In consultation with our health officials, we are generally supportive of a vaccine exemption program for inter-island travelers and we stand ready once the Governor announces his decision. At this time, our immediate priority is rejoining the state’s Safe Travels program on April 5 and our ability to manage an expected increase in cases at that point.”
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said, he is also in support of modifying the state’s safe travels program as more people get vaccinated.
Gov. David Ige’s office said, he is having regular discussions with mayors about loosening restrictions and personally asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director for specific travel guidance.
“The current Safe Travels program has worked well in protecting Hawaii’s residents, businesses and communities. Currently under the Safe Travels program, those arriving in Hawaii without a negative COVID-19 test from an approved testing facility are required to quarantine,” Blangiardi said. “As the percentage of fully-vaccinated travelers increases, it’s appropriate to consider whether our Safe Travels program can be safely modified without risking our people.”
Green said, a vaccine passport for mainland travel could come at a later date.
Roth said, he is hopeful half of the state’s population will have received the COVID-19 vaccine by May, 2021.
“By May, I believe we should have 40-50% of our population vaccinated, that makes a lot of sense at that time,” Roth said. “Hopefully the numbers keep on going down, but it is something that we have to look at as well.”