HONOLULU (KHON2) – Lt. Governor Josh Green announced that those who are fully vaccinated may be able to travel more freely sooner rather than later.
Green said those who get vaccinated now will soon be able to travel to see their family across the islands without the hassle of paying for one COVID-19 test or quarantine.
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He said the change in travel between the islands could be made as early as April 2021.
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Green said, “We have had high-level discussions to withdraw from any need for an inter-island test or vaccination card once all mayors have signed up. I believe this would happen.”
Green said COVID-19 testing for those who received the vaccine is not a good use of resources.
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Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth said it was time to lift restrictions on travel within the state.
Roth said, “I think we are ready, we have a lot of people who want to go back to work and want to do so in the safest possible way.”
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Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakamitold KHON2 in a statement:
“We know that many visitor industry stakeholders and heads of state have expressed a desire for consistency in travel logs. We therefore assume that this will be a nationwide effort.
In consultation with our health authorities, we generally support a vaccine-free program for inter-island travelers and stand by as soon as the governor announces his decision. At this point, our immediate priority is to rejoin the state’s Safe Travels program on April 5th and be able to handle an expected increase in cases by that time. ”
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he also supports changing the state’s safe travel program as more people are vaccinated.
Governor David Ige’s office said he had regular discussions with mayors about easing restrictions and personally asked the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for specific tour guidance.
“The current Safe Travels program has performed well in protecting Hawaiian residents, businesses and communities. Currently, those who come to Hawaii under the Safe Travels program without a negative COVID-19 test from an approved testing facility must be quarantined, ”Blangiardi said. “As the percentage of fully vaccinated travelers increases, it is important to consider whether our Safe Travels program can be safely modified without putting our employees at risk.”
Green said a vaccination certificate for travel to the mainland could come at a later date.
Roth said he hoped half of the state’s population would have received the COVID-19 vaccine by May 2021.
“I think 40-50% of our population should be vaccinated by May, which makes a lot of sense at this point,” said Roth. “Hopefully the numbers keep going down, but we have to look at that too.”