Hawaii sets vaccine thresholds for lifting travel quarantine

Coronavirus

FILE – A man sits on a nearly empty Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. Tourists are traveling to Hawaii in larger numbers than officials anticipated, and many are wandering around Waikiki without masks, despite a statewide mandate to wear them in public. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, file)

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Friday that the state will drop its quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers once 70% of the state’s population has been vaccinated against the disease. Hawaii will also lift its requirement that people wear masks indoors once that level has been reached, he said.

The state Department of Health website said 59% of Hawaii’s population has had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 52% finished their dosing regimen.

The state is using its figures, and not those provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to calculate thresholds for lifting restrictions. Health Department Director Dr. Libby Char said that’s because Hawaii’s numbers are more accurate. She said it appears the CDC has been counting some of Hawaii’s doses twice.

Right now, travelers arriving from out of state must spend 10 days in quarantine or, to bypass that quarantine, they must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken before departure for the islands.

Once 60% of Hawaii’s population is vaccinated, Ige said, the state will allow travelers to bypass a quarantine requirement as long as they can prove they were vaccinated in the U.S.

Restrictions on travel between the islands will open up before that.

Ige said that as of June 15, people will be able to fly interisland without taking a COVID-19 test or showing proof of vaccination. Also on that date, those who have been vaccinated in Hawaii may bypass quarantine when returning from a trip out of state.

To encourage more people to get vaccinated, the state announced it launched a website HIGotVaccinated.com where vaccinated people can enter to win prizes and learn about discounts at local retailers and restaurants.

Among the deals: A $3 bag of Zippy’s chili for those who show their vaccination card. Among the prizes are 100,000 frequent flyer miles from Hawaiian Airlines.

So many people went to the website after the state announced its existence that the site crashed. Health Department spokesman Brooks Baehr said 500 people signed up for prizes in the first hour.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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