HONOLULU (KHON2) — Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino is asking for big changes to the Safe Travels program amid rising COVID-19 numbers.
He is pushing for more testing and is also asking for a pass for those who are vaccinated.
“We’ve requested the governor to approve institutional changes that will give us new restrictions and some changes in our travel.”Mike Victorino, Maui County Mayor
Travelers would need to take a COVID-19 post-travel test when they arrive in the county under Mayor Victorino’s new proposal, on top of the pre-test required before their flight for the Safe Travels program.
Rapid testing would be available at the airport. Travelers would need to quarantine for ten days if people do not take this second test.
Victorino said, the goal is to stop the virus and its variants from coming in.
“This will guarantee that the safe travels program, if approved by the governor, will allow us to do that second test upon arrival so that we will know if there’s any contagious people coming in,” said Victorino.
Victorino had made a similar request to require post-travel testing back in October 2020, but that request was denied by the governor.
“Our (COVID-19) rates are higher. Our (COVID-19) numbers are higher, and I believe (the governor) and I, we’ve had some discussion that he’s more apt to do it this time,” said Victorino. “I’ve used a model that Big Island instituted a number of months back, and even though their numbers are starting to climb also, it’s been much more effective having a post-test. I’ve always wanted that and I think now we’ll be able to get it.”
He is also asking the governor to start a pilot program for a vaccination passport.
Travelers who show proof that they have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days would be allowed to enter the county without having to test or quarantine under the program.
“We would like to see anyone who’s fully vaccinated and have had at least 2 weeks of incubation since the last vaccination to be able to come in and not have to take a test and be able to go about the business there,” said Victorino.
He did not say how the vaccination passport would work and how they would verify that a person did receive a vaccine.
Both proposals need to be approved by the governor before taking effect. Victorino said, he hopes to have the new changes in place at the airport by mid-April.