Hawaii Could Exempt Vaccinated Mainland Visitors from COVID-19 Testing and Quarantine as Early as May 2021, according to Major General Kenneth Hara, Director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA).
Currently, all transpacific travelers to Hawaii, both visitors and returning Hawaii residents, must receive a negative test result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within the 72 hours prior to departure of the last leg flight to Hawaii via one of Hawaii's Trusted Travel Partners, such as Vault Health, Costco/AZOVA+, CVS Health, Walgreens, XpresCheck+, etc. and have the negative test results in hand prior to boarding the flight, or be subject to a mandatory 10 day quarantine in Hawaii.
But as healthcare workers, essential workers, older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions get vaccinated, Hawaii is preparing to change its COVID-19 testing and quarantine rules. The final determination on the exemptions will be made by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), but Gen. Maj. Hara anticipates that as of March 1, 2021, essential workers who are classified as such by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may avoid testing as well as quarantine, and after that, the state is likely to open inter-island travel to vaccinated travelers, without requiring pre-travel testing or quarantine.
DOH will be cautious in staging the roll-out, due to the new COVID-19 variants, such as the UK variant, B.1.1.7, which are more highly transmissible and may also have higher mortality associated with them.
For the many Hawaii visitors and returning residents who have had stressful experiences getting COVID-19 test results back in time, before their flight to Hawaii, the eventual exemption from being tested will be a very welcome side benefit of being vaccinated.
Have you already received one or both shots of a COVID-19 vaccine?
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