Governor expected to loosen coronavirus restrictions as Hawaii nears 60% fully vaccinated

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to the Department of Health (DOH), 52% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated while 59% of residents have received at least one dose.

Hawaii still has an indoor mask mandate and travel restrictions remain in place even though more than half the state is fully vaccinated.

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“In two to three weeks, we will touch 60% [fully vaccinated],” explained Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “And I believe Governor Ige will make some really significant announcements in the next day or so.”

“If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you could help a lot, you’ll be helping your neighbors and your family and all of us to get to a place where we’re fully immune, and the governor is more empowered to relax restrictions,” he continued.

The possibility of loosening restrictions brought more residents to vaccination sites on Thursday, June 3.

“To be honest, at first I didn’t want to get the shot at all, I heard stories and all that and then I realized the safety of the island and for everyone with my son encouragement, I finally took it as my second shot,” said Oahu resident Christine Bondroff.

“Hopefully, like my mom said, hopefully we will have restrictions loosen, and traveling will be a lot easier,” said her son Gerard.

Lt. Gov. Green said Gov. Ige is looking at 70% of residents to be fully vaccinated to possibly drop travel, mask and restaurant and bar restrictions. Green admitted it will not be easy an easy number to hit.

“70% will be a little more challenging, that could take a little time,” Green said.

Healthcare providers are heading to schools in hard-to-reach areas to help reach that goal.

“Today we’re at Farrington High School, and at each of the schools that we go to, we’re usually doing several hundred doses a day, which is great,” explained Dr. Melinda Ashton, Hawaii Pacific Health executive vice president.

She says there will be pop-ups at beach parks and shopping centers and with the slower turnout, there is little concern of wasting vaccine.

“Now the approach federally is don’t waste an arm,” Dr. Ashton added. “If you’ve got someone who wants to get a shot, don’t worry about whether you’ll find the other four people to empty out that vial.”

The DOH is encouraging restaurant workers to get vaccinated after a cluster at an Oahu fast food restaurant led to 38 COVID-19 cases, 11 of the employees had not been vaccinated and spread the virus to household members and others who worked at other fast-food restaurants.

To see where you can get vaccinated, click here.

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