Hawaii's Working on a Plan for Welcoming Vaccinated Visitors

Looks like a beach trip is in our future...

Editor’s Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. As of April 2021, official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk, though safety precautions are still required. Should you need to travel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance as well as local requirements/protocols/restrictions for both your destination and home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

Hawaii has been working on plans for a vaccine passport for quite some time—an initiative that would allow travelers to bypass the mandatory quarantine requirements that are currently in place. Now, it looks like we're closer than ever to that reality. Maybe start packing your swimsuit. Or at least dig it out of your closet.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation that—in addition to extending the statewide moratorium on evictions—also revealed plans for a game-changing vaccination passport system. Those who have gotten their full dose of either Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnnson & Johnson will be free to travel to the state without having to submit to the current testing or quarantining requirements. Under the plan, which has not yet been put into place, all you have to do is upload your vaccination documents to the Safe Travels Program or bring them IRL. 

According to Forbes, the rollout is anticipated to happen as early as May for inter-island travel and summer for out-of-staters. 

"Businesses have lost a lot of money during this whole period here so there’s a lot to recoup," president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism and Lodging Association, Mufi Hannemann, told Hawaii News Now. "But more importantly, we’re anxious to get this economy moving forward in a safe and healthy manner.”

Local government is reportedly in talks with app developers Clear, CommonPass, and First Vitals to create a pre-flight vaccination verification system to make the whole process a lot easier.

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.