Home Travel Hawaiian Island Changes COVID Requirements (Again)

Hawaiian Island Changes COVID Requirements (Again)

by SharonKurheg

If there’s one thing Coronavirus has proven to the world, it’s that science and medicine are constantly changing.

Obviously, those of us involved in science and medical fields (I retired from the industry about 10 years ago to do other things but yep, I’m one of them) have always known that. But it’s nice for people outside those fields to finally get a taste of it, too.

Changes in understanding how a new virus works, and what works against it, means having to evolve our approach. For example, we’ve gone from recommendations of saving masks for healthcare workers, to say that a cloth mask is fine, to saying that 3-ply cloth masks are best, to recommending that KN95s and N95s are better than cloth masks. We’ve also gone from using Lysol and hand sanitizer on virtually everything to understanding that the virus is primarily spread through the respiratory system (although I hope that people continue to wash their hands a lot. Especially after they use the toilet).

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that as COVID waxes and wanes, and different variants emerge and disappear, so will local rules regarding the response to the virus.

In mid-late January, Hawaiian Governor David Ige confirmed that a COVID booster shot requirement would soon be added to the state’s Safe Travels program. The requirement would mean travelers to the state of Hawaii would have to have to show proof of having received a COVID booster shot in order to bypass quarantine upon arrival (other options included getting a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours before departure).

Ige didn’t say when the booster requirements would start for the state. But, of course, each county/island in Hawaii is allowed to make its own, local rules.

On January 8, Maui made a new rule: guests age 12 and over must show proof of being fully vaccinated (including a booster shot) or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours to be able to be a patron of indoor dining, drinking, or gyms.

At the time, COVID cases were rising drastically, with more than 15,000 new cases in January alone. Fortunately, the Omicron variant, which was the reason for the January 8th mandate, appears to have peaked in Hawaii. Data from the Hawaii State Department of Health shows that COVID cases on the island fell by 67% between January 20 and February 2.

Governor Ige still hasn’t mandated booster shots for the state. However in a turnabout, Maui has now dropped its booster mandate as of February 7th (you’ll still have to show that you’ve received 2 Pfizers, 2 Modernas or 1 Johnson & Johnson).

Restaurants in the county are thrilled at the news, as the new rules were confusing for guests and a challenge for staff.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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