Hawaii’s Safe Travels vaccine card announcement expected by end of week

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — In his latest proclamation, Gov. David Ige wrote that vaccinated travelers could bypass the state’s Safe Travels pre-test and quarantine, pending approval from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

State Adjutant General Kenneth Hara is expected to meet with Ige on Wednesday to discuss it further.

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“We are now gaming out some of the details. We’re hopeful to make it go for May 1,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who has been pushing for a Safe Travels vaccine card for months.

He said it’s looking like inter-island travel will be open for vaccinated residents on May 1, and then trans-Pacific vaccinated travelers would open on June 1.

Travelers would still use the Safe Travels app, but instead of uploading a COVID-19 test result, they would upload their vaccine card.

“The essential plan would be to allow for people to upload their card, for us to be able to ask them to put in a couple details like the lot number of their vaccine and the date that they got it,” Green explained, “and then we’d be able to verify it and have people show their card on arrival.”

Discussions about quarantining travelers who are a few days away from being fully inoculated or allowing partially vaccinated travelers to upload a card ahead of time, as well as bottleneck at the airport, still need to be worked out.

Last week, Ige said he was concerned about people using fake vaccine cards to enter the state.

The Attorney General’s office confirmed that on Friday, April 9, two mainland travelers were arrested. According to Green, the couple falsified their pre-tests but were caught.

“They did get charged with a crime. They’ve returned to the mainland since and that is a quarantine violation, which carries up to $5,000 fine and a year in jail,” Green said.

State officials said falsifying test results or vaccine cards will not be tolerated, and Green doesn’t think many people would risk federal charge and possibly a state penalty.

“Setting an example of travelers doing that is a good thing. It comes at a time when I also want to be really clear to people if we start this on May 1, we will be watching to make sure that people don’t cheat us when they travel from the mainland,” Green said.

“We’re committed with all the mayors to ensure our orders and restrictions on travel and mitigation actions to protect the public health and wellbeing is serious, and we intend to prosecute to the full extent of law,” Ige said on Monday.

Green said the vaccine program won’t be perfect.

“That’s why we still want people to bring their card with them, and we’ll visually and physically verify, but look, it’s going to be very few people overall that are willing to commit a felony which is falsifying a federal document to travel for a vacation,” Green said.

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