HONOLULU (KHON2) — Taking a trip soon? Make sure to bring your vaccination card. The state announced reduced restrictions for fully vaccinated residents on Tuesday, April 20.
It’s the announcement many have been waiting for: being able to bypass quarantine and a COVID-19 test.
The new rules go into effect May 11 for inter-island travel only, and you must be fully vaccinated. That means waiting two weeks after your final dose of the vaccine.
It’s considered as a significant step toward economic recovery. Officials say it should also move the state toward another big step of welcoming mainland travelers without having to take a test.
Starting May 11, Hawaii residents can travel to the neighbor islands without having to take a COVID-19 test as long as they can show proof that they were vaccinated in Hawaii, and that it has been two weeks since they received their last dose.
Travelers will need to fill out the electronic form on the Safe Travels platform, upload a copy of their vaccination card and bring the actual vaccination card, all of which will be checked upon arrival.
“So when the traveler goes through, they’ll show the screener that they’re clear, the green check mark, and then they can go through. I’ll take probably a minute,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, State Adjutant General.
Hara says health information will not be shared, just the information on the vaccination card. Those who lose their card can also get a replacement at the place where they originally got it. Officials say they anticipate that there will be delays at first, so county mayors plan to increase staffing at screening points.
Officials say they are working to be able to verify vaccinations that are done out of state. Hawaii is working with two vendors, Common Pass and Clear, who verify the testing results for Safe Travels.
“We do anticipate that it will happen this summer, but it depends on how quickly they will be able to connect the networks to get access to vaccination information for all the states,” said Gov. David Ige.
When it’s approved for mainland travel, Ige says the plan is to screen at departure points, which is what’s being done now with test results. Hara adds that a traveler whose vaccine information is uploaded in the system will not have to do it every time they travel.
“The system will keep your information, so all you’ll do on your next trip, you fill out your travel information. But then that vaccine exception will already be there,” he said.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green issued a reminder that “fully vaccinated” travelers means more than receiving both shots of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson — individuals can qualify for the exemption after 14 days have passed in order to build up immunity.
Travelers who arrive in Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties before the 15th day after the completion of their vaccination will be placed into mandatory 10-day quarantine, unless they meet the criteria for other exceptions. Oahu currently does not have an inter-island travel quarantine order.
Travelers seeking the exemption must log in to their Safe Travels account and complete the forms.
Ige’s office released the following guidelines for vaccinated inter-county travelers:
- Provide a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card with name, birthdate, type of vaccine, date(s) vaccine was administered and lot number(s) for each vaccine dose.
- Create an online account and register with the State of Hawai‘i Safe Travels Hawai‘i web program.
- Affirm that they are fully vaccinated, and that the uploaded CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card is accurate and authentic.
- Upload a PDF file or digital image of a properly filled CDC Vaccination Record Card to the Safe Travels Hawai‘i web program.
- Bring a digital image as well as the original CDC Vaccination Record Card with you in case you are asked to produce it.
The digital platform goes live on Friday, May 7, for flights starting on May 11. Initially, the system will not validate the cards — that will be done by screeners, State Adjutant General Kenneth Hara said.
Anyone who is not vaccinated can still travel by following the Safe Travel program guidelines.