New CDC Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Travelers; Hawai‘i Rules Still in Place
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released updated guidance for fully vaccinated travelers within the US, saying these travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.
The guidelines include recommendations that fully vaccinated individuals would not need to get a COVID-19 test before or after travel unless their destination requires it; and do not need to self-quarantine.
The CDC is still recommending that fully vaccinated travelers follow safety recommendations including: properly wear a mask over the nose and mouth, stay six feet from others, avoid crowds and wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
An individual who has waited at least two weeks since obtaining a final dose of FDA-authorized vaccine, is considered fully vaccinated.
Current State Guidelines Require Testing and Quarantine
Under current state rules, all arriving trans-Pacific passengers into Hawaiʻi are required to be tested prior to boarding flights (within the 72 hours before departure of the final leg of their trip to Hawaiʻi) or face a 10-day quarantine upon arrival. Under Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program:
- Travelers to Kaua‘i must receive a negative pre-travel test result before departure and a 2nd negative test result after 72 hours at an approved Enhanced Movement Quarantine (EMQ) “resort bubble” property. Beginning April 5, Kauaʻi will rejoin the Safe Travels trans-Pacific program.
- Travelers to Maui must download the AlohaSafe Alert App in addition to other requirements.
Trans-Pacific travelers arriving without a confirmed negative test are not able to obtain a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test upon arrival in Hawaiʻi.
The state of Hawai‘i ONLY accepts NAAT tests from certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment lab test results from TRUSTED TESTING AND TRAVEL PARTNERS.
Maui Now reached out to state officials for comment on plans moving forward to see if any amendments to the state rules would be made. We are currently awaiting a response.
Hawaiian Airlines calls for update to Safe Travels program following new CDC guidance
Hawaiian Airlines issued a statement in response to updated travel guidance by the CDC saying they are pleased with the guidance and hopeful that the state will update its Safe Travels program to align with the recommendations.
“We are pleased to see today’s CDC determination that fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically without testing or needing to quarantine. We are hopeful the state of Hawai‘i will update the Safe Travels program to align with these recommendations. The CDC’s guidance underscores the effectiveness of vaccinations, as well as the comprehensive health and safety protocols adopted by the airline industry. While we must all continue to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and each other, it’s time to restore freedom of travel to allow families and friends to reconnect and generate crucial economic activity.”
Vaccine Passport Proposal Faces Challenges; Maui Mayor Hopeful for Second Test Proposal
Just days after submitting a proposal for a pilot vaccine passport program for Maui, Mayor Michael Victorino said it does not appear promising after further discussion with the governor. “It doesn’t look like he’ll approve the (vaccine) passport, but that hasn’t been confirmed,” said Mayor Victorino during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon.
Under the program proposal, fully vaccinated individuals, with at least two weeks of incubation since their final vaccination dose, would be able to bypass the state’s 10-day quarantine without having to take a test.
Mayor Victorino is also requesting a second test requirement for arriving travelers and is also awaiting response from the governor. “As far as a second test, he is looking at it very favorably, but he hasn’t confirmed that either. So I will say I’ll await until Monday (for) his decision. I’m asking for a decision as quickly as possible so that we can institute all of our plans. They’re ready but they’e on hold until we get their approval. It will take at least 7-10 working days to get it implemented, so the quicker we can get a response, especially if it’s positive, the quicker we can get it in place.”
“I really am looking forward to a second test. I think that’s something that’s doable,” said Mayor Victorino.
CDC Recommendations for International Travel Differ from Domestic Flights
The CDC says international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants. The CDC recommends delaying international travel until fully vaccinated.
Under CDC guidelines, those who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine and are traveling internationally should still get tested three to five days after completing travel. The CDC recommends that international travelers would not need to get tested before leaving the US unless their destination requires it; and would not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the US.
This too, differs from current rules for international travel to Hawaiʻi.
Under current state rules, travelers from Japan, Canada and Korea to Hawaiʻi may bypass the State of Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day quarantine by securing a pre-travel test from a trusted testing and travel partner 72 hours prior to departure on the final leg of their journey to Hawai‘i. Travelers from Japan, Canada and Korea who do not secure a negative COVID-19 test BEFORE departure will be subject to the same mandatory 10-day quarantine regulation as other trans-Pacific travelers to Hawaiʻi. The negative test result must be uploaded onto Safe Travels prior to departure or printed out prior to departure and hard copy in hand when arriving in Hawai‘i.
- For travelers from Canada, visit Air Canada or WestJet.
- For travelers from Japan, visit Hawai‘i Tourism Japan (Japanese).
- For travelers from Korea, visit Hawai‘i Tourism Korea (Korean)
At this time, there are no other enhanced entry options available for international travel in Hawaiʻi.