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Fully-vaccinated Hawaii residents can travel between islands without testing, quarantining

Fully-vaccinated Hawaii residents can travel between islands without testing, quarantining
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Hawaii residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can now freely travel between islands without having to undergo pre-travel testing or mandatory quarantining. 

The new rules, which were first announced last month by Hawaii Gov David Ige (D) and officially went into effect on Tuesday, apply to island residents on the 15th day after their final vaccine shot. 

Those who are fully vaccinated and wish to travel between islands must also provide their vaccination card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and receive a digital record card by registering with Hawaii’s "Safe Travels" program. 

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According to details of the program shared by the governor’s office last month, residents who arrive in Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi counties before they are fully vaccinated or before the 15th day post vaccination must undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine, unless they meet certain exemptions like pre-travel testing. 

The updated rules currently do not apply to non-Hawaii residents, though Ige said in a statement last month that the government hopes to eventually open up the program to out-of-state and international travelers later this year. 

“As always, our number one priority is the health and safety of Hawai‘i’s people,” Ige said. “Together, we made the decision to start with an inter-county travel program for those vaccinated in the State of Hawai‘i, because we are able to verify the information.” 

“This phased approach will allow us to assess the impacts of the program to our pre-departure document check program and screening procedures,” he added. “Most importantly, we’ll be able to assess any impact to our virus transmission rates and healthcare facilities.” 

The CDC has recorded that roughly 59 percent of Hawaii’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 41 percent fully vaccinated. 

The vaccination verification program in Hawaii follows a similar one implemented in New York called the “Excelsior Pass,” which allows residents the ability to digitally store proof of vaccination that can be scanned and validated at businesses, performances and other public events.