Hawaii’s COVID19 policy for travelers will likely stay into next year according to Lt. Gov. Josh Green. Green said that the “Safe Travels” program isn’t likely to go away “until the rest of the world has seen a great decrease in COVID”. He added that “My gut tells me the governor will be reluctant to do away with it until spring 2022”.
Green helped oversee the Safe Travels program requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID19 test on travelers entering Hawaii. However, the governor will still have the final say on any changes.
Hawaii’s High Vaccination Rate
Hawaii’s Safe Travels program has been running for more than a year. Plus, Hawaii is among the states that have the highest vaccination rates in the US. As of November 16, 77% of Hawaii residents aged 5 and up already completed their COVID19 vaccine doses. In Oahu, the vaccination rate goes as high as 80%. Maui County has the lowest vaccination rate at 69%.
Aside from Hawaii’s high vaccination rate, the state also has a 1.5% infection rate.
Hawaii’s COVID19 Policy Gives International Travelers a Sense of Security
However, some think that Hawaii’s COVID19 policy is bad for business. Arianna Stephens who is a manager at the Waikiki Grass Shack Bistro said that “It wouldn’t hurt to do away with it”. Stephens added that “We don’t get as much of that local crowd coming too often, so it’s really difficult to try and sustain the business”.
Now that summer is gone, visitors decreased as well. However, Green says that the program will attract international travelers back. He thinks that this could give them a sense of security. Green said that “There’s far fewer people that could spread COVID. But it’s not nobody”. He also explained that “The reason for the Safe Travels Program and keeping that in place to a degree is because there has been an outbreak in Austria and Germany in some parts of the United States”.