Hawaii lifts COVID travel quarantine rules this month

Hawaii plans to lift its COVID-19 quarantine requirement for travelers this month, which means that starting March 26, those arriving from other places in the United States will not have to show proof of vaccination or negative test to avoid confinement for five days.

Hawaii is the only US state to have such a coronavirus quarantine program in place.

Governor David Ige told a press conference that the requirement saves lives and was a major factor in limiting the spread of COVID-19 on the islands. Hawaii has one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the country.

The quarantine period for travelers lasted 14 days when Hawaii first imposed it in March 2020. The state then created testing and vaccination exemptions.

The state has screened 11.3 million passengers since the testing exemption launched in October 2020, Ige said.

Those arriving in Hawaii from outside the country must still follow US federal guidelines, which vary based on US citizenship. International tourists do not need to self-quarantine but still need proof of vaccination and a negative test.

The governor said he would maintain Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate until at least March 25 and assess whether to lift it after that. Hawaii is the last state in the country to have a statewide mandate in effect.

The governor said the state Department of Health would review recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before making a decision, Ige said.

Ige said he wants to make sure public schools can continue in-person learning. He said more people will travel as spring break approaches, which could increase the presence of the coronavirus in schools.

“The pandemic is not over. Tragically, we continue to see those we know and love continue to suffer from COVID-19,” he said.

The governor said he was proud of how the community has responded to the pandemic.

“It’s about the people, the place and the culture of all of us here, coming from diverse backgrounds but always understanding that there is a greater reason to be willing to sacrifice individual needs for the benefit of the community. “Ige said. “And again and again, we were ready to do it.”