HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lt. Gov. Josh Green said it is now looking like mid-May could be the date vaccinated travelers can bypass a quarantine and pre-test to fly inter-island, and mid- to late-June for mainland travel.
Gov. David Ige’s latest proclamation included a quarantine exemption for vaccinated travelers, pending final approval of the plan by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
State Adjutant Gen. Kenneth Hara met with Gov. Ige and Lt. Gov. Green and others on Wednesday, April 14.
Green said, the meeting went well.
“The mayors and the governor all seem to be on board, but there are some small details to work through, among them, making sure people have their cards,” explained Green.
Discussions are underway to figure out what to do if a traveler loses the physical vaccine card before arrival and only has a photo. Other concerns are the bottleneck at the airport when demand picks up. Making sure screeners can handle the high number of arrivals is also a priority.
Green said, he believes it will be easier at the airport to separate, check and verify people who have and have not received the vaccine.
“I think that all the questions that were raised in the meeting we had were solved by midafternoon,” Green said on Thursday, April 15.
The Hawaii Department of Defense said there are 620 transpacific airport screeners statewide.
There are 28 screeners on Kauai, 150 on Maui, 134 on Hawaii Island and 308 on Oahu.
Several airlines already screen travelers before their flights and give them a wristband that helps to ease lines at the airport.
KHON2 reached out to a few airlines to see if they would do something similar by screening vaccine cards on departure but has not heard back.
Thursday marked six months since Safe Travels began in October 2020, just as the state reached its one millionth vaccine shot.
“I think that experience has made the Governor demonstrate caution [with few cases coming in], but, you know, my job is to push and to try to get things going and, and get us there,” explained Green, who was hoping for a May 1 date to open interisland travel for vaccinated residents. “You know, a lot of people like to walk before they run, I like to sprint.”
Green said, additional meetings will take place on Friday, April 16, and an official announcement could come during the week of Monday, April 19.