The foundations for journey and gatherings in Hawaii are anticipated to be relaxed on July eighth
A major milestone in Hawaii’s fight against COVID-19 is slated for July 8, when all counties are expected to ease travel restrictions and indoor and outdoor gatherings as the islands hit a projected national average vaccination rate of 60%.
All current convention restrictions are then expected to be substantially lifted in a few months, once Hawaii hits a statewide full vaccination rate of 70%, Governor David Ige and three county’s mayors announced Thursday.
Hawaii is expected to reach a statewide vaccination rate of 60% before or around July 8th, which is expected to trigger far less restrictive travel and collection quotas:
>> Fully vaccinated U.S. travelers flying domestically – including islanders returning home – are allowed to bypass Hawaii quarantine and advance travel restrictions as long as they upload their vaccination cards to the state’s Safe Travels website and arrive with a copy of theirs Vaccination cards and all current travel restrictions will remain in effect until July 8, said Ige.
The upcoming travel changes “will make it easier for residents to return home and enjoy our islands for visitors,” he said.
>> The number of people allowed to attend social gatherings will be increased from the current 10 people indoors to 25; The size of the outdoor gatherings will be increased from 25 to 75 people.
>> Restaurants are allowed to increase their seating capacity to 75% of their maximum permissible capacity as long as they do not have more than 25 guests indoors and 75 outdoors.
>> Masks will continue to be required indoors until Hawaii reaches a 70% vaccination rate, Ige said. He continues to wear a mask outdoors.
Ige said each county will still enforce its own rules, but Mayors Rick Blangiardi, Derek Kawakami of Kauai, and Mike Victorino of Maui County all nodded in accordance with Ige’s July 8 plan. Ige said Hawaii County was “fully on board” too.
In a follow-up statement, Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said:
“We are delighted to have worked with the governor and other mayors to set a specific date for the transition to nationwide COVID restrictions. By establishing clear dates, we can enable our ‘ohana’ overseas to better plan their trips while our businesses, families and sports leagues can better prepare for the path to recovery that lies ahead.
On the Garden Isle, Kawakami said it was possible that district officials could allow further relaxation of restrictions with event planners and resorts “on a case-by-case basis.”
Once the state reaches its goal of a 70% full vaccination rate, Ige said, “the Safe Travels program will end and we will invite everyone to travel to our islands.”
Mayors were all optimistic that reaching a 70% vaccination rate will result in a near return to pre-COVID-19 activity, unless it spikes in future cases.
With a full vaccination rate of 70%, it is likely that social distancing requirements would be lifted for large outdoor and indoor events such as concerts.
“Yes, at 70% we would drop the mandates,” said Ige.
Blangiardi called the current goal of 60% full immunization rate “an important milestone” and a “great achievement” for Oahu, while wishing that restrictions could be lifted before the July 4th holiday.
But Blangiardi expressed support for Ige’s planned easing of restrictions on July 8 and, along with the other mayors, urged more people to get vaccinated.
“The people who are just getting sick are the people who aren’t vaccinated,” said Blangiardi.
When asked about Maui County’s concerns, Victorino presented a mixed picture, including increased tourism on the Road to Hana.
“Yeah, it was a mix of good and not so good,” said Victorino.
Valley Isle tourism is growing “maybe a little too fast for Maui,” he said. “I would like to slow it down. … We had challenges and continue to face challenges. “
Regarding vaccination rates, Victorino raised particular concerns about young people not being vaccinated, saying Hawaii could otherwise be a model for the nation with a potential 80% complete vaccination rate.
He used a number of metaphors, such as that Hawaii is on the “home stretch” and sees “the light at the end of the tunnel”.
“Let’s do it right,” said Victorino.
New infections continue to spread among people who have yet to be vaccinated, prompting Ige and some of the mayors to recommend all families and friends to get their vaccination questions answered through legitimate sources rather than social media.
“Almost everyone who becomes infected with COVID today is unvaccinated, so getting a vaccine is very, very important,” said Ige. “We will go back to normal when we are all vaccinated. … Please get vaccinated. “