(BIVN) – Governor David Ige on Tuesday announced the end to Safe Travels Hawaiʻi and travel quarantines in late March. The governor also said the state’s mask mandate will remain in place for now.
As COVID-19 case counts continue to drop across the State, Gov. Ige held a news conference to explain his decision. The State later issued this news release:
Gov. David Ige announced that the state is ending the travel quarantine and the Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program after the current emergency period ends on Mar. 25. Beginning at 12:01 am, Mar. 26, passengers arriving from domestic points of origin will not have to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a pre-travel negative test result. Incoming passengers will also no longer be required to create a Safe Travels account or provide travelers information and trip details. Travelers arriving in the State of Hawaiʻi now through Mar. 25, are still subject to Safe Travels requirements.
International passengers will continue to follow the requirements that were put in place by the federal government.
In addition, beginning on Mar. 26, state/county employees and visitors to state facilities will no longer be required to provide vaccination status or negative COVID test results.
“We started the Safe Travels program to protect the health, lives, and livelihoods of the people of Hawaiʻi. The program put in place safety protocols that included a multi-layered screening and testing approach that kept our communities safe during the COVID-19 surges that endangered the most vulnerable of our citizens,” said Gov. Ige. “Right now, we are seeing lower case counts, and hospitalizations are coming down.”
“We thank our entire state who came together, made tremendous sacrifices, and overcame the greatest challenge our society has faced in recent history. We thank Governor Ige, the state Department of Health, and all of our partners across the islands, for your leadership and guidance. Most of all, we thank all of you – our small business owners, essential workers, working parents, kupuna, and most especially our keiki – for your compassion and resilience to see us to this significant turning point. The ability for us to now see life beyond COVID is a testament to your collective work.” – Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami, Kauaʻi County.
“This pandemic has tested all of us in extraordinary ways,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “I want to thank the Governor, the State Department of Health and General Hara for guiding us to this landmark point in time. But most importantly, I want to thank our residents who did all they could to demonstrate a genuine concern for taking care of themselves, their families, and their communities. I am so proud of the way we stood together over the last two years through one of the most trying times in history. The resilience of our entire state was remarkable, and it is a great credit to who we are as a people.” — Mayor Rick Blangiardi, City and County of Honolulu.
“Mahalo to Governor Ige, Lieutenant Governor Green, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, and everyone who has helped to keep Hawaiʻi safe during the pandemic. Hawaiʻi has the lowest COVID-related death rate in the nation because of this vigilance. Hawaiʻi is the nation’s only island state, and our geographic isolation means our considerations are different from the other states. COVID-19 is still out there, and I ask for continued patience from everyone.” – Mayor Michael Victorino, Maui County.
“We are excited to be moving collectively, as an island and a state, toward a new chapter for Hawaiʻi. Our community has worked extremely hard over the past two years to keep each other safe, and it is because of them we are able to begin shifting from response to recovery. Although COVID still remains a threat, we are confident in the will of our residents to continue doing what they know is right for all of us.” – Mayor Mitch Roth, Hawaiʻi County.
In the meantime, the state’s mask mandate will remain in place for now. While all states have announced the end to their mask mandates, several major counties have kept them in place. For example, Pennsylvania has no mask mandate, but as of yesterday, Philadelphia does.
“Many states dropped their mask mandates earlier in the pandemic, only to have to reinstate them once the Delta variant surged. Hawaiʻi maintained its mask mandate and our consistency helped to keep COVID case numbers and hospitalizations as low as possible during the surge. It is also one of the reasons Hawaiʻi has the second lowest death rate in the country,” said Gov. Ige. “We are watching disease activity closely across the state, the country, and globally, and we will adjust accordingly to keep our entire community healthy – from keiki to kupuna.”