HONOLULU — On Friday, Gov. David Ige signed the 20th proclamation on COVID-19, to allow inter-county travelers vaccinated in the state to bypass pre-travel testing and/or quarantine requirements, starting today.
State Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman welcomes the change. “From the health perspective, I think it is appropriate for inter-island travelers who are fully vaccinated to be allowed to travel without pre-travel testing or quarantine,” Berreman said.
The state said this new rule came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined on April 2 that fully-vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine, although they should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely, including wearing a mask over their noses and mouths, staying six feet away from others, avoiding crowds and washing hands often or using hand sanitizer.
Avery Kano, a weight and balance agent for Hawaiian Airlines, said prior to the coronavirus pandemic, he was fortunate to be able to live on Kaua‘i and commute to O‘ahu for work daily.
“With all the restrictions in place and having to adapt to COVID-19 as well as a greatly-reduced flight schedule, I needed to move to O‘ahu, as commuting was not an option,” Kano said. “Luckily, I was able to find testing options to be able to fly home on my days off and not have to quarantine.”
Kano said, as someone who was hesitant about getting the vaccine, there is excitment that there is an option for inter-island fliers to be able to avoid quarantine and pre-travel testing by uploading vaccination information to the state Safe Travels website.
“This will make traveling home on my days off a lot easier. However, I will still test for peace of mind as well as keeping my parents, family, friends and our Kaua‘i community safe,” Kano said.
According to the state, its Safe Travels platform went online today, allowing travelers to upload their travel information and vaccination data.
“We wish to thank our residents who received their vaccination to help protect themselves and our community,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said. “With this vaccine exemption program in place, our residents can safely visit their friends and loved ones.”
Kawakami said that, as a reminder, those who have recently traveled or are exposed to travelers are encouraged to take a free COVID-19 test at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No appointments are needed.
In the COVID-19 briefing, the county said residents statewide who have been fully vaccinated in Hawai‘i will be able to travel inter-island and be exempt from the travel quarantine without needing a pre-travel test by following these steps:
w If you are traveling inter-island and have been vaccinated in the state, upload a photo of your vaccine card or VAMS certification onto your Safe Travels profile;
w For those who have not been vaccinated in the state or are traveling trans-Pacific, you may still take a pre-travel test to participate in the state’s Safe Travels program and be exempt from the travel quarantine.
The governor’s 20th proclamation said all persons traveling within the counties of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, Maui and Kalawao, shall be required to truthfully, accurately and fully complete a mandatory state travel and health form. And they must also upload their vaccination record card to the Safe Travels platform before traveling.
Any person traveling inter-island “violates this rule if the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly refuses or fails to truthfully, accurately and fully complete a mandatory state of Hawai‘i travel and health form, or any person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly uploads, provides, utters or otherwise uses a falsified CDC COVID-19 vaccination record card, shall face criminal penalties in addition to any other lawful penalties established by law.”
According to the governor’s 20th proclamation, any person who violates any of these rules will be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, will be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
A copy of the proclamation is at governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/2105031-ATG_Twentieth-Proclamation-Related-to-the-COVID-19-Emergency-distribution-signed.pdf
Safe Travels program requirements established by the director of emergency management are available at hawaiicovid19.com.
Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.