Hawaii will now require visitors to the state to have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster to avoid a mandatory five-day quarantine.
Under the current rules of Hawaii’s “Safe Travels” program, travelers who don’t want to quarantine for five days must either be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test within one day of travel.
However, the program is changing the definition of “fully vaccinated.” It will now include booster shots according to the state’s leadership.
Governor David Ige announced the change at a news conference last week.
The change means that vaccinated travelers who haven’t obtained a COVID-19 booster shot will have to quarantine for five days.
Gov. Ige said the changes would not take effect for at least two weeks so that travelers could adjust their plans accordingly.
“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,” he told Hawaii News Now.
The governor went on to say that he was speaking with local mayors and other civic leaders about mandating booster shots to dine in restaurants and participate in other activities and events. Ige said he would ultimately leave that decision to individual counties and their leadership.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino revealed last month that booster shots would be required for locals to be considered fully vaccinated.
The new rule was set to go into effect on Jan. 8 but was delayed until Jan. 24 to allow people time to schedule booster shots, according to local news station KHON 2.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority announced that the Safe Travels program would be undergoing several changes, including reducing the mandatory quarantine period for unvaccinated travelers without a negative COVID-19 test from 10 days to five days following updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.