5/24/21 Update: Governor Ige states that he is still targeting 7/4/21 to allow vaccinated trans-pacific visitors to Hawaii to be exempted from the pre-travel COVID-19 testing.
Hawaii Could Allow Fully Trans-Pacific Vaccinated Travelers to Skip Quarantine Soon After July 4, 2021. Hawaii's Lt. Gov. Josh Green notes that Hawaii's pilot vaccine passport program for inter-island travelers could start as early by May 1. If that goes well, it could be expanded to U.S. trans-Pacific passengers a month later. Green says, however, that Hawaii won't allow exemptions for the foreseeable future for international travelers due to the increasing number of COVID-19 variants (although many of these variants have already been identified in parts of the U.S.).
On Friday, April 9, Hawaii Governor David Ige authorized a vaccine exemption program, pending approval from Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) Director General Kenneth Hara.
Travelers who have been fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to travel will be able to qualify for exemption from both Hawaii's 10 day mandatory quarantine and from pre-travel COVID-19 testing.
Ultimately the program will be digital, with an online verification process; Hawaii is working with Clear, Common Pass, and First Vitals. In the meantime, the state is planning to have travelers upload a copy of their paper vaccination card and show the physical card at the airport. boarding gate, along with photo ID. Presumably the vaccine exemption will work similarly to the COVID-19 pre-test, enabling travelers to obtain a QR code from the Hawaii Safe Travels program and take advantage of the Hawaii Pre-Clearance programs offered by United, Alaska Airlines, and Southwest.
As to the potential issue of fraudulent vaccine cards, Lt. Gov. Green believes that few would attempt it under the penalty of significant fines or even prosecution.
The vaccine exemption will become part of the existing Hawaii Safe Travels program, which will continue to permit non-vaccinated visitors to be exempt from quarantine if they receive a negative test result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken through one of Hawaii's testing partners. Green notes that anyone unable or unwilling to be vaccinated, can continue to use the pretest option. “We don’t want to discriminate against anybody, but it will be an easier way to travel.”
For Maui-bound travelers, however, note that Maui will soon require a second COVID-19 test on arrival.
Are you planning to visit Hawaii using the vaccine exemption from testing and quarantine, once this option is available?
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