Hawaiians Will Soon Be Able to Travel Between Islands Without Quarantine, Testing
Travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii will be able to skip testing or quarantine measures when hopping from island to island in just a few weeks, the state's Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday, becoming the latest destination to introduce a form of a vaccine passport.
"Starting May 11, fully vaccinated travelers who received their vaccine in Hawaii may travel inter-county (Kauai, Maui, & Hawaii) without having to take a pre-travel test or quarantining for 10 days," Ige tweeted. "People are fully vaccinated on the 15th day following their final vaccine dose."
To participate, travelers will have to register their vaccination cards on the state's Safe Travels Hawaii platform. The program is not currently available for inoculated travelers coming from the mainland.
"Our state has been doing well in keeping COVID cases steady & our hospitalizations low, & we are ready to take this next step," Ige said in a follow-up tweet. "I know how important for residents to be able to travel to see their friends & family on other islands & this provides a way for them to do that safely."
Lt. Gov. Josh Green has said the eventual goal is to open up the program to trans-Pacific travelers.
For now, any tourist can still skip quarantine by getting a pre-travel test at a "trusted partner" site. Travelers to Maui will also soon have to take a second test upon arrival at the airport, while those heading to Kauai can qualify for discounts to local businesses if they volunteer to take a second test three days after arriving.
The state's vaccine passport plans come as about 44% of residents 18 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine in Hawaii and 32% are considered fully vaccinated, according to the State of Hawai'i – Department of Health.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 51% of Americans 18 and older have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, while more than 33% are fully vaccinated. The CDC has said fully vaccinated people can travel with low risk to themselves and domestic travelers do not need to get tested or quarantine when they return home unless required by their local jurisdiction.
With this move, Hawaii joins New York in offering a state-sponsored vaccine passport option. New York's Excelsior Pass is not used for travel, but rather to verify vaccine or test records to attend events like sports games.
Vaccine passports have become a flashpoint in recent weeks, and several states, including Texas and Florida, have banned businesses from requiring them to provide service.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.