March 3, 2022 — Hawaii is joining the rest of the U.S. in easing some COVID-19 restrictions in March as coronavirus cases continue to decline.
On March 26, the state will lift its quarantine requirement for domestic travelers, according to The Associated Press. Visitors will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to bypass a mandatory 5-day isolation period.
“We started the Safe Travels program to protect the health, lives and livelihoods of the people of Hawaii,” Gov. David Ige said in a statement.
“Right now, we are seeing lower case counts, and hospitalizations are coming down,” he said.
The state is reporting an average of 200 cases per day, according to the latest data from the Hawaii Department of Health. About 76.5% of residents are fully vaccinated, and 56% who are eligible have received a booster dose.
Ige said the quarantine requirement saved lives and played a major role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 on the islands. Hawaii had one of the lowest infection rates in the country and the second-lowest death rate, the AP reported.
International travelers will still be required to meet U.S. guidelines, which vary based on American citizenship. International tourists won’t need to quarantine but will still need proof of vaccination and a negative test taken no more than 24 hours before departure.
Hawaii was the only state that had a coronavirus quarantine program of its kind for domestic visitors, according to the AP. When Hawaii first imposed the restriction in 2020, the quarantine period lasted 14 days.
State officials later reduced the isolation time and created testing and vaccination exemptions. Hawaii has screened more than 11 million passengers since the testing exemption was launched in October 2020, Ige said.
Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate will remain in effect until at least March 25, Ige said, and state health officials will evaluate it after that. Hawaii is the last state with a statewide mask mandate.
Although states have announced an end to their mask mandates, several major cities and counties have kept them in place.
Ige said he wants to ensure that public schools can continue with in-person learning. But since more people will travel for spring break vacations, COVID-19 cases could increase again.
“Many states dropped their mask mandates earlier in the pandemic, only to have to reinstate them once the Delta variant surged,” he said. “We are watching disease activity closely across the state, the country, and globally, and we will adjust accordingly to keep our entire community healthy.”