Free to fly again

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.

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Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

10 Comments
  1. RGLadder37 May 11, 2021 1:26 am Reply

    Thank you for the news. Just one thought to pass to this island. Okay, you know you live on Kaua’i and it is a slower pace than any island. Well, this is America. And in America, you can go any where you desire. This includes islands, and or buildings. You know what I mean? Tackleberry?


  2. Kauai Ken May 11, 2021 3:21 am Reply

    When will Hawai’i add other or all US states to this vaccine waiver program? All states use the same three vaccines, and most if not all states manage their vaccine records in the same manner as Hawai’i. If all states can’t be added immediately Hawaii should add individual states as they complete their assessment, suggest you start with the top 10 states for visitors fueling the fragile Hawaii economy, then the next 10, until all are reviewed.


  3. Bill Mitchell May 11, 2021 6:33 am Reply

    Why not all vaccinated US citizens? We had to get a test to get to Kauai and now another test to go to the big island while on Kauai, those test are out of pocket as well.
    Sounds like another “blue” discriminatory policy!


    1. Kalaheo May 11, 2021 8:16 am Reply

      You are 100% correct sir.


    2. RGLadder37 May 11, 2021 9:22 pm Reply

      There is no way of keeping track or contact tracing everyone who flies. So they make this process into a system of checks whereby everyone doesn’t miss being checked up. Even though it’s twice in the same trip. Coronavirus seems to be yet not solved. If you catch it, there is a slight chance that if you get the vaccine after, and it cures it, you may catch it again if you go flying or traveling to places around the globe. Still it took the Spanish Flu many years for them to get a hold on the flu and cure it for people who had the flu. Same on the coronavirus. It will take many years to come up with a working vaccine where herd immunity is achievable. I don’t think they can handle the load yet. So they are relying on checks, to stop it there. Every time.


  4. Hope May 11, 2021 6:40 am Reply

    This is going too far, Gov. Ige has taken too much control and gone far beyond his executive order, he has infringed too much our rights, he cannot dictate who can and cannot travel freely, I should not have to be a prisoner in my own home because I want to travel, it has been over a year since the pandemic hit and we should be past this, it is ruining our economy all in the name of “safety”, the fact that you don’t have to wear a mask in a restaurant if you are sitting down to eat speaks volumes in how non-threatening this virus is,
    this doesn’t feel like America


    1. Kilauea May 11, 2021 9:14 am Reply

      “Free to fly again”?? Something about this title sounds wrong, this is in fact a free country and they are telling us that some people are now free to fly again, this should not be allowed


    2. KauaiRon May 11, 2021 12:08 pm Reply

      Aloha
      Hope you are spot on …
      Where did we lose our Freedom … Freedom is not something we need to ask for … nor … beg for.
      Mahalo


  5. Kali Yuga May 11, 2021 9:47 am Reply

    The title of this really shows ignorance to what freedom means. It’s not freedom if you have to earn it back, it should be given.


  6. Kahilirose May 11, 2021 1:03 pm Reply

    As I have previously stated, out of state vaccination certificates cannot be verified. If other states want to make travel safer and more convenient for its residents, they can join Safe Travels.

    You can easily search for “fake covid vaccine certificates” to see that this is an international problem.


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