Hawaii Ends Visitor Testing & Vaccine Requirement

Hawaii Ends Visitor Testing & Vaccine Requirement

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It’s an exciting day for Hawaii tourism. Hawaii has had the strictest entry requirement of any state during the pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, Hawaii was shut down to domestic visitors without quarantine for many months, and up until now the state has required either vaccination or testing before travel. That has finally changed for arrivals as of today.

Hawaii Safe Travels program has now ended

In early March, Hawaii Governor David Ige announced that the Safe Travels program would end for arrivals as of Saturday, March 26, 2022, which is today. Safe Travels is the program through which travelers have had to fill out a form before visiting Hawaii, uploading either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative coronavirus test.

As of today there’s no longer a need for completing pre-travel forms for Hawaii, so there’s no longer a need to create a Safe Travels account, or provide any traveler information or trip details. International visitors continue to have to follow federal guidelines related to entering the United States, including providing proof of a negative test taken within one calendar day of travel.

Here’s how Governor Ige described the decision to end the Safe Travels program:

“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. Right now, we are seeing lower case counts, and hospitalizations are coming down.”

I’m happy to see Hawaii finally eliminate this requirement. I understand that Hawaii faces some unique challenges, but we’re now over two years into the pandemic in the United States, and in my opinion it’s time for things to return to normal, within reasons.

When I visited Hawaii in May 2021 you had to be both vaccinated and get a test. That was frustrating, since you could only get a test from a select list of providers, and that was sometimes complicated and costly. It was only as of July 2021 that Hawaii started accepting either vaccination or testing for entry. My visit to Hawaii earlier this month was much easier, since proof of vaccination was sufficient.

While I absolutely think testing for coronavirus is important, it has been incredibly frustrating what a money-grab the concept of testing for travel is, as the cost of testing in many places is still outrageous.

Visiting Hawaii has just become much easier

Hawaii lifts indoor mask mandate

Not only have Hawaii’s entry requirements been eased, but the state has also lifted its indoor mask mandate. Hawaii was the last state to still have a mask mandate for indoor settings, but that has been lifted as of Saturday, March 26, 2022.

I’m happy to see this as well. While I absolutely think (good) masks work, Hawaii’s enforcement of mask mandates was unlike anything I’ve seen just about anywhere else. For example, when I visited Hawaii in May 2021 the mandate was even enforced when working out outdoors, or when working out alone in the gym, with no one else in sight.

Given the conservative approach Hawaii has taken toward the pandemic, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the state reimpose this mandate if cases surge. I suppose time will tell.

Hawaii’s statewide mask mandate has been lifted

Bottom line

Over two years into the pandemic, Hawaii has finally lifted its domestic travel restrictions, meaning that vaccination and testing are no longer required in order to visit the state. This is great news, if you ask me, and takes some of the hassle out of planning a trip to Hawaii.

Not only that, but the state has also lifted its indoor mask mandate as of today. Hawaii was the last state to do this.

What do you make of Hawaii ending the Safe Travels program?

Conversations (16)
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  1. Steve Guest

    I live on Maui and have suffered under these destructive travel edicts from Gov Ige as well as Maui Mayer Mike Victorino for over two years. They have repeatedly blamed visitors and tourism for any and all deaths due to Covid. So much so there is a strong anti visitor sentiment that has all but destroyed the Aloha Spirit of Welcome. If you come here do not be surprised if you are treated rudely, cut off while driving or otherwise treated badly.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      What Hawaii will do without tourism, selling pineapples?

      I don't get why locals think it's a good idea to kill their cash cow.

    2. Jan Guest

      I went last year, and I suffered nearly none of the rudeness to visitors. my Turo rentals had very welcoming owners. The only exception is being cut off and tailgated by locals at Road to Hana, but our tour guide app said that's normal, and not COVID-related at all.

      Maybe I got lucky.

    3. Steve Guest

      It was the timing of your trip mostly. Locals got used to being virtually free of tourists for 2 years with many deciding tourism was not only detrimental to the islands but deadly. Despite the most restrictive and costly Safe Travels Hawaii requirements, many locals see all tourists as dirty, infected slobs who will destroy paradise if allowed. Calling for the end of all tourism or at least limiting it to only the wealthy tourist...

      It was the timing of your trip mostly. Locals got used to being virtually free of tourists for 2 years with many deciding tourism was not only detrimental to the islands but deadly. Despite the most restrictive and costly Safe Travels Hawaii requirements, many locals see all tourists as dirty, infected slobs who will destroy paradise if allowed. Calling for the end of all tourism or at least limiting it to only the wealthy tourist is very common. Keep in mind that Hawaii is primarily a society of the wealthy or the poor. Common sense middle class sentiment is in short supply here.
      Regardless it is a virtual paradise if you overlook the failing economy and the States politics.

  2. Never In Doubt Guest

    I wonder when (or if?) prices across Hawaii will come down once people can more easily travel outside the US.

    I like Hawaii, but not at COVID prices vs non-US options.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Before COVID cost of living in Hawaii was already expensive.

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      Of course, but I was referring to the significantly elevated pricing for hotels/rental cars during COVID.

    3. Jan Guest

      I wonder if it will be crazier, I went last year when Maui had both the pre-arrival test requirement and the post-arrival antigen, there were lots of U-Haul trucks on tourist spots.
      The Avis/Hertz's wanted $2500 on a minivan for a weekend, good thing there's a Turo guy who had an Audi Q7 Prestige for less than half that.

  3. George Romey Guest

    With all this nonsense coming to an end along with hopefully the mask mandate on planes it's come time for me to finally book a trip again to Maui.

  4. Brodie Gold

    I was in Hawaii last week and masking was already loosely enforced. I stayed at both the Grand Wailea and Grand Hyatt Kauai and hardly anyone was masked, outside new arrivals. So glad the testing BS is over as that added $300 to the trip for the kids. Now we need to remove the testing requirement for reentry into the US.

  5. Andy Diamond

    Based on the evidence in the US, Europe and Latin America, getting seriously ill is extremely unlikely for people who are vaccinated three times. This is also my personal experience: I had only brief and very mild symptoms when catching it, nothing worse than a common cold.

    Now how does this relate to traveling: Of course, it's not ideal if you travel when you have a cold and, perhaps, if you can, you should postpone...

    Based on the evidence in the US, Europe and Latin America, getting seriously ill is extremely unlikely for people who are vaccinated three times. This is also my personal experience: I had only brief and very mild symptoms when catching it, nothing worse than a common cold.

    Now how does this relate to traveling: Of course, it's not ideal if you travel when you have a cold and, perhaps, if you can, you should postpone the trip. But will I add any pressure on the health system at my destination? No, definitely not. So does it justify travel restrictions. Arguably, not.

  6. Greg Guest

    Covid 19 and it's mutations are something that I feel is best evaluated by the medical community and the scientific research who has the most up to date and accurate data. I of course am pleased that it appears that the risk of catching a severe or deadly case is rare enough that the restrictions are lifting. That said travel is not as enjoyable and is overall more costly today because of the pandemic and...

    Covid 19 and it's mutations are something that I feel is best evaluated by the medical community and the scientific research who has the most up to date and accurate data. I of course am pleased that it appears that the risk of catching a severe or deadly case is rare enough that the restrictions are lifting. That said travel is not as enjoyable and is overall more costly today because of the pandemic and that has not changed unfortunately. But things are looking up.

  7. Alonzo Diamond

    What do you mean by, "it's time for things to return to normal, within reason?" It seems like you're constantly straddling the fence. 2 years in, I'm wondering what your expectations are at this point.

  8. derek Guest

    Vaccination requirements are good.

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      Would love for them to stay in place whenever the testing requirement for int'l return to the US drops. Let the anti-vaxxing misinformation spreaders stick to Branson or Daytona.

    2. Mr. Obvious Guest

      @UA - they are no different than the vaxxing misinformation spreaders who should just stick to NYC and LA! *2 thumbs up* buddy

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Steve Guest

I live on Maui and have suffered under these destructive travel edicts from Gov Ige as well as Maui Mayer Mike Victorino for over two years. They have repeatedly blamed visitors and tourism for any and all deaths due to Covid. So much so there is a strong anti visitor sentiment that has all but destroyed the Aloha Spirit of Welcome. If you come here do not be surprised if you are treated rudely, cut off while driving or otherwise treated badly.

1
Greg Guest

Covid 19 and it's mutations are something that I feel is best evaluated by the medical community and the scientific research who has the most up to date and accurate data. I of course am pleased that it appears that the risk of catching a severe or deadly case is rare enough that the restrictions are lifting. That said travel is not as enjoyable and is overall more costly today because of the pandemic and that has not changed unfortunately. But things are looking up.

1
Mr. Obvious Guest

@UA - they are no different than the vaxxing misinformation spreaders who should just stick to NYC and LA! *2 thumbs up* buddy

0
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