Hawaii is lifting its strict COVID-19 entry requirements on March 26, Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday.
Travelers will no longer need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test to bypass a mandatory quarantine. The five-day quarantine, which has applied to those who don't show vaccine proof or a negative test, is going away, too. The state is keeping its indoor mask mandate, however.
The changes under the state's Safe Travels program, which was introduced in October 2020 to reopen the top tourism destination, apply to domestic travelers. And they come less than six weeks after the state was considering tightening restrictions by adding a COVID-19 booster requirement. That idea was publicly nixed on Feb. 8 and Ige said at the time that the other restrictions would be revisited.
"In making this decision, we considered declining COVID-19 case counts in Hawai'i, the continental U.S. and Europe," Ige said at the time. "Hospitalizations have also dropped. In addition, we looked at Hawai'i's robust vaccination rates and the continued push by businesses and organizations to get their employees vaccinated and boosted for the safety of their families and the community."
International travelers headed to Hawaii are still subject to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rules for international flights to the U.S.
The entry restrictions have helped keep Hawaii's COVID-19 cases low but have repeatedly confused travelers. The state only accepts certain COVID-19 test results from approved providers. Travelers showing up with the wrong tests or paperwork have had to scramble for a pricey last-minute test, change or cancel their trip or quarantine upon arrival.
Copyright 2022 USA TODAY. All rights reserved. From https://www.usatoday.com. By Dawn Gilbertson.