HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lt. Gov. Josh Green sent a proposal to Gov. David Ige on Thursday, Jan. 28, laying out when he believes the state can safely re-open based on vaccine distributions.
[Hawaii news on the go–LISTEN to KHON 2GO weekday mornings at 7:30 a.m.]
As of the morning of Friday, Jan. 29, Lt. Gov Green said 137,100 vaccination shots have been given out across the state.
He said, it is time to start discussions on safely re-opening the rest of the state as the state continues its vaccine rollout.
The proposal, which is more of guidance along with a timeframe, was sent to Gov. Ige along with all the county mayors.
Lt. Gov. Green suggested opening inter-county travel without a pre-test to people who have completed the required doses of vaccine, plus two weeks to allow for full-immunity; having in-person instruction for schools; and all counties moving to Tier 3.
He said, he hopes that the first phase can happen once the State gets through the majority of 1B vaccinations which is projected to be between Monday, Feb. 15 and Monday, March 1.
“So, individuals who are fully vaccinated, plus two weeks so that their immune systems have responded to the vaccine, they would be able to come without having testing requirements or what have you,” Lt. Gov. Green explained.
“We need to have this dialogue, because it’s going to help us to open up Hawaii sooner rather than later, as long as we are safe, we have to be safe. But as we get our most vulnerable people vaccinated, that’s the right time to also bring people here who are no risk,” he continued.
The proposal states most of the 1C category should be inoculated by mid-April and Green hopes vaccinated mainland travelers can come into the state without a pre-test or quarantine.
“I think that this very likely could double the number of visitors back to about 20,000 per day without adding risk to Hawaii, because our people will be safe,” Green said.
He also proposed having large gatherings resume by May 1.
Green said, the state is working with two app companies for proof of being vaccinated; Health Pass and Clear, which would show the person has received the required dose of vaccine plus waited the two weeks to be fully immune.
Those who choose not to get vaccinated would still need a pre-test to travel, including children.
“For the immediate future, until we get guidance on vaccinating kids, we won’t be able to include them in the program,” he explained.
Tourism leaders think the proposal is a great start and focuses on public health and safety for visitors and residents.
“We’re reaching the breaking point, we need to start opening up the economy, more and more businesses are continuing to suffer,” said Mufi Hannemann, CEO and President of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.
“This will really help us in terms of jumpstarting the economy, which is what we really need to do right now in a safe way,” he continued. “This is not a reckless, irresponsible idea, it’s far from it. And I think there’s still some T’s to be crossed, I’s to be dotted, but what a great starting point to begin those discussions there are deadlines attached to this, there are goals attached to it, and there’s objectives. So, I fully support what the Lieutenant Governor wants to do in this regard.”
Gov. Ige’s office said he and the county mayors are in regular discussions about COVID restrictions including the Safe Travels program and the lieutenant governor’s proposal will be considered along with all others.