HAWAII, USA — Travelers headed to Hawaii may soon be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine booster before arrival in order to avoid quarantine, the state's governor said. The new rule could be enacted within a month.
Gov. David Ige said the state is looking to update its Safe Travels program.
"We know that the community needs time to react to that, so we would have to provide at least two weeks for those who may not be up-to-date to go to have the opportunity to go and get vaccinated if they need to," Ige told the Honolulu Star Advertiser last week.
Honolulu's mayor said the state is targeting Feb. 18 as the date for the new rule, USA TODAY reported.
Under Hawaii's Safe Travels program, anyone currently traveling from the U.S. mainland or U.S. territories must quarantine for five days unless they are vaccinated. Travelers must upload their proof of vaccination to the Safe Travels website and must have a hard copy in hand when arriving on the islands. There is also a way to provide proof of vaccination digitally for faster entry.
For those who do not have proof of vaccination, they must test negative within 72 hours of the final leg of their trip in order to avoid quarantine.
Hawaii takes quarantine seriously and has arrested visitors in the past for violating the rules.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows hospital admissions have spiked during the omicron variant surge, but it remain below the record highs for the state late last summer. The 7-day moving average for deaths in Hawaii from COVID-19 is about 1/4 what it was at its peak in late January 2021.