Gov. Ige raises concerns with Delta variant but will move forward to Tier 5

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The governor says dropping more restrictions will be harder due to the Delta variant. But he adds that all systems are a go for going into the less restrictive Tier 5 on July 8.

Whether or not we reach 60% by July 8, the governor says the restrictions will be dropped because businesses have been preparing for them.

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He adds that we should be close enough to the 60% which will make it safe for businesses to increase capacity. The state will also allow fully vaccinated mainland travelers to Hawaii to skip quarantine or pre-testing.

But Ige says the Safe Travels system is not ready to verify out of state vaccination records, so they will have to be inspected manually.

“That’s where these vendors are having difficulty, they’re trying to make sure they can get access to all the vaccination records, so we can verify,” said Gov. David Ige.

“What are your thoughts in dropping the indoor mask mandate?” asked KHON2.

“I’m just working with the public health experts to determine when we can just drop it as a mandate and feel comfortable doing that. It’s the Delta variant that gets people concerned,” said Ige.

He says the variant is also another good reason for the state to reach that goal of getting 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated before dropping all restrictions. While some states don’t count children under 12 years old in that percentage because they can’t get the vaccine, Ige says they should be included because they can get infected.

“It doesn’t make sense to say 70 of just the eligible population because now we would leave a lot of people unvaccinated and at risk,” he said.

With businesses still struggling to find workers, KHON2 also asked if he would now consider dropping out of the additional $300 unemployment benefit from the federal government.

“That $300 plus up continues to help people who are unemployed and haven’t been offered or found a job in order to make the rent payments,” said Ige.

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