Hawaiian Gov. David Ige reiterated plans to keep current COVID-19-related travel restrictions in place until the state reaches a 70% vaccination rate, likely by September.
According to Hawaii News Now, state Health Department statistics show that 68.6 percent of the population 12 and older is fully vaccinated, but Ige’s 70% vaccination benchmark refers to the total population.
Only an estimated 58.6% of all Hawaii residents were fully vaccinated as of mid-July.
“We believe the 70% target is good for us,” Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “We’re making good progress. Those who are not vaccinated are the most vulnerable and those who are not eligible for the vaccinations are our children.”
Despite a recent surge of coronavirus infections, Hawaii eased COVID-19 restrictions in recent months by expanding its “vaccine passport” program to all domestic travelers and increasing the number of people permitted at social gatherings.
With the indoor mask mandate still in place, Hawaii is the only state with restrictions that haven’t been lifted for vaccinated travelers and locals.
“Once we move forward, I don’t want to be in a position to have to step back,” Ige told Hawaii News Now. “I’m committed to maintaining the mask mandate for now.”
On Monday, tourism officials in Hawaii announced that domestic travelers with a SMART Health Card can bypass quarantine requirements by using the CommonPass app to digitally verify their vaccine status.
Last week, CLEAR announced the expansion of its Health Pass technology for COVID-19 test screening and vaccine verification for all Hawaii-bound travelers through the state's Safe Travels program.