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Inter-Island Travel Changes Expected: More Flexibility for Fully Vaccinated Passengers

Airport screening. PC: file Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated in Hawaiʻi may soon get the opportunity to travel inter-island without having to take a pre-travel COVID-19 test.

Maui County Managing Director, Sandy Baz led a press conference in place of Mayor Victorino on Monday afternoon saying, “we have been working with the governor and Hawaiʻi Emergency Management on the possibility of inter-island, inter-county travel to be done.” Baz said this will allow fully vaccinated individuals to travel without having to get a test prior to travel.

“This is a good opportunity for us to get reconnected with our neighbors on our neighbor islands,” said Baz, noting that it will make it easier for people to visit family members on other islands that they may not have seen in a while, without having to go and get a test prior to coming back to Maui.

“More information will be presented once we have that available. It has been reported in the news (they’re) looking to get started in May. We’re not quite sure when yet, or what the exact details will be, but for now, keep your vaccine card handy. You will have gotten one when you get your vaccination. They do mark it on there that you have been vaccinated. So keep that handy just in case you need it in the future,” said Baz.

“The information that we received from the CDC, and our medical advisors–they do definitely think that this is something (where) the benefits outweigh the risks,” Baz said in response to a media inquiry. “There is breakthrough with vaccinations, but vaccines are still a wonderful thing to get. They will help reduce the spread of the virus itself while (taking) us back to a little bit of normalcy that Mayor Victorino has been looking for. So we do support this. We’re waiting for the rules to come out as far as any specifics as it relates to this.”

Governor David Ige said he is expected to make an announcement today on plans for new interisland travel rules.

In a Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaiʻi appearance yesterday, he said the state is working through vaccines and determining what that would mean, especially for residents who are vaccinated in the islands.

He said proposed changes and a timeline for implementation will be discussed during an announcement today, in an effort to make it easier for people to travel inter-island.

“We realize it would be a great opportunity for the local economy, especially for inter-county. And we do intend to implement something for inter-county first and then that gives us more time. You know it gets a lot more complicated trying to verify vaccinations done in other states. That’s a bigger challenge, but we’re going to start with people vaccinated in the state of Hawaiʻi first,” said Gov. Ige during the interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies.

He said the state continues to work with Clear and Common Pass and their health platforms, to access testing data across the country.

“We’re hopeful that if we can start with the state of Hawaiʻi and those vaccinated in the state; then that gives us additional time to work to get tied in to the national networks that a lot of these companies have established. That we’ll be able to roll it out for Trans-Pacific soon,” Gov. Ige said in the segment.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2021/04/20/inter-island-travel-changes-expected-more-flexibility-for-fully-vaccinated-passengers/

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