Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Interisland Travel Restrictions Ended in Hawai´i

By Max Dible
June 14, 2021, 5:00 PM HST
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PC: Hawaiian Airlines

At long last, intrastate travel has returned to normal in Hawai´i.

All restrictions on interisland travel throughout Hawai´i are set be lifted on Tuesday, June 15, marking the first time state residents and qualified visitors will be able to move between islands entirely unencumbered in more than a year. The rollbacks will apply to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.

Those travelling between Hawaiian Islands will no longer be subject to COVID-19 quarantine requirements of any kind. Interisland travelers will also be exempt from taking a pre-travel coronavirus test.

Formerly, those coming from O´ahu to any of the neighbor islands needed to provide a negative test or proof of vaccination to avoid quarantine.

Trans-Pacific travel requirements are also changing Tuesday. Anyone vaccinated within the state of Hawai´i will no longer be forced to take and pass a COVID-19 test before returning to the islands in order to avoid a 10-day mandatory quarantine. Proof of vaccination is required for the exemption, including uploading a copy of a valid vaccine card to the state’s Safe Travels website.

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Those who were vaccinated outside of the state are still required to take and pass a coronavirus test within 72 hours of departure to Hawai´i to avoid quarantine. Once they have arrived and fulfilled all requirements, those travelers can move between islands absent any restrictions.

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Governor David Ige announced the changes earlier in this month, saying they are based on statewide vaccination rates. As of Monday, the Hawai´i Department of Health reported that 55% of the population was fully vaccinated, with at least 61% having initiated the inoculation process.

When the fully vaccinated population hits 60% across all islands, the governor said the state will have enough protection to allow for the second step in his rollback plan. At that point, any trans-Pacific travelers coming to Hawai´i from someplace in the US or its territories will be allowed to forego testing and quarantine requirements simply by producing their hand-held vaccination cards. Where they were vaccinated will not matter, as long as it was somewhere inside the US.

Hawai´i will abandon its Safe Travels Program entirely when the state reaches a fully vaccinated rate of 70% of its residents. This is also when indoor mask restrictions will be abolished. However, the governor reserved the right to alter that benchmark.

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“I can, and will, change policies based on health conditions we see and the rate of virus circulating in our community,” Ige said.

The governor added that if Hawai´i does not appear as though it will reach a 70% vaccination rate, he may do away with all COVID-19 restrictions regardless. The decision, he said, will depend on COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates, among other factors.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations.
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