Hawaii Gov. David Ige said on Wednesday that after some consideration, there are no plans to require a Covid-19 booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated under the state’s entry rules.
And Maui County, which recently began requiring the booster to be considered fully vaccinated for entry into bars and restaurants, has reversed course and dropped the booster requirement.
In January, Ige commented to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that his administration was evaluating a booster requirement as part of Hawaii’s Safe Travels program for screening incoming arrivals as the state’s Covid-19 case rate ballooned due to the omicron variant.
Now, with case rates falling in Hawaii and on the U.S. mainland, Ige will leave the program unchanged.
“Hospitalizations have also dropped,” Ige said in the statement. “In addition, we looked at Hawaii’s robust vaccination rates and the continued push by businesses and organizations to get their employees vaccinated and boosted for the safety of their families and the community.”
Under Safe Travels regulations, those entering Hawaii from the U.S. mainland must show proof of full vaccination or a negative result on a Covid-19 taken within 72 hours of the final leg of their flight to receive an exemption from a five-day quarantine period. International travelers to the islands follow the U.S. rules for entry.
The statement from the governor’s office also noted the statewide indoor mask mandate will remain in effect at this time, and the administration is also continuing to evaluate the possibility of ending the Safe Travels program.
“We made this decision in close coordination with the four county mayors, the Department of Health, and in collaboration with Hawaii’s travel, hotel, tourism, transportation, retail and restaurant industries,” said Hawaii’s incident commander for Covid-19 response Gen. Kenneth Hara. “I am exceptionally pleased that case counts and hospitalizations are trending downward, and am hopeful that conditions continue to improve so that the state can eventually end Safe Travels and all Covid-19 related restrictions.”
In Maui County, bar and restaurant patrons must show either a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours or proof of full vaccination with or without a booster shot.