Hawaii is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. The archipelago, which is made up of 8 major islands and dozens of smaller ones, is known for its beautiful beaches, volcanoes, and year-round beautiful weather. During the pandemic, however, visiting Hawaii, even from another U.S. state, has been difficult. The islands shut down to travelers early in the pandemic to prevent community spread.
However, the governor of Hawaii, David Ige, has announced plans for a vaccine passport program that will make it easier for vaccinated travelers to enter the islands. Here’s what you need to know about the program.
What are the current rules for visiting Hawaii?
Hawaii is one of the only destinations within the U.S. that strictly enforces pre-travel testing even for domestic visitors.
In order to enter the state of Hawaii, visitors must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival in the islands or quarantine for 10 days. The state only accepts tests conducted by certain partners; the full list of test distributors accepted is available here.
Visitors to the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui must also be tested a second time upon their arrival. The state of Hawaii also conducts temperature checks and health screenings in most airports.
The state’s strict travel requirements have allowed them to keep cases relatively low and avoid any strain on the islands’ limited health resources (much of Hawaii is rural, and there are not many hospital beds per capita).
What rules are changing for vaccinated people?
Hawaii is planning to loosen some of the state’s travel restrictions for vaccinated people. The Big Island has already announced that vaccinated travelers will not be required to take the county’s second, required test, and Maui is expected to follow suit.
The state of Hawaii is also developing a “vaccine passport” program where vaccinated travelers can upload proof of their vaccination to an online portal, or bring their vaccine card with them to the airport, and bypass testing and quarantine requirements entirely. As the U.S. nears universal vaccine eligibility,
When will the program for vaccinated people start?
The state of Hawaii plans to lift pre-testing and quarantine restrictions for inter-Island travel (Hawaiian residents visiting other islands) by May. The goal is for the program to extend to fully vaccinated out-of-state visitors by this summer. It will be welcome news for many Americans since Hawaii is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Conclusion: Hawaii Tourism Will Start to Return to Normal This Summer
After over a year of travel restrictions, visiting Hawaii will likely become much easier in summer 2021, at least for vaccinated people. If you’re interested in visiting Hawaii, you can enroll in TSA Pre-Check to speed up your time in the airport or get a new ID easily with the Skip App.
If you’re interested in international travel, you can see our full list of vaccine and testing requirements for every country here, and a list of countries reopening to vaccinated Americans here. Lastly, you can track the U.S. vaccine rollout and see who in your social network has been vaccinated with our vaccine social tracker, available here.