Gov. Ige it’s time to let the Vaxed people fly

A national survey this week ranked Honolulu as the # 3 destination for summer travel this year, just behind popular perennials like Orlando and New Orleans.

Our weather and our safety – the latter based in part on our low number of COVID-19 cases and our deaths – are the main draws.

But getting to Hawaii isn’t that easy as the state does not yet have a vaccine passport system in place to accommodate transpacific travelers.

Hawaii Governor David Ige said on Monday it could happen in a month, but for people booking flights, cars (if you can find one), accommodations and attractions can now choose to go. elsewhere rather than submit to our testing and quarantine. protocols.

The governor must make the promised change in state policy as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter where you got your photo – Hawaii or the mainland.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says fully vaccinated people can travel the country without getting tested. Hawaii itself has allowed relatively hassle-free travel over the past 10 days for inter-island passengers who can demonstrate they are vaccinated.

Passengers seated in the baggage area of ​​Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Tuesday, where the lines to exit the facility were long. Cory Lum / Civil Beat 2021

But as the state has not changed its travel requirements, the result has been a great confusion for many arriving and stranded in long waits at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to exit the airport.

“Hawaii is still alive in October 2020,” a passenger said Monday.

Ige has expressed concerns about the validity of verification documents for vaccines approved beyond our shores. But his own lieutenant governor and our senior US senator believe the likelihood of fraud is low.

“It’s a pretty heavy penalty if you tamper with federal documents, so we’ll make that clear when we roll out the program,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green said last month.

Earlier this month, Senator Brian Schatz said that “if the CDC tells us it’s safe to do something, we should probably let it happen,” adding, “I would include in that category the possibility to enter the state of Hawaii. or travel to the state of Hawaii if you have proof of vaccination. “

Last week, the CDC reported that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are 94% effective in preventing the symptomatic illness of COVID-19, according to a new study of more than 1,800 U.S. health workers.

The New York Times also reported that more than 70% of Americans aged 65 and over are fully immunized, according to CDC data, while 84% have received at least one dose, “a much higher proportion than for younger Americans,” according to federal data. The numbers have exceeded President Joe Biden’s goal partially immunize 70% of American adults by July 4.

It would be a shame if Hawaii didn’t lift its passport restriction for vaccines soon, as we have always relied heavily on summer travelers to support our economy. Booking trends are on the rise – well below pre-pandemic levels, but a dramatic improvement compared to 2020. Daily passenger arrivals are just as well.

And in April, Hawaii hotels statewide reported “significantly higher” revenue per available room and average daily occupancy rates compared to the same period a year ago – the first full month. pandemic – the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported Thursday.

Hawaii is increasingly ready to welcome visitors. For example, the Battleship Missouri Memorial said it would restore its full program of operations starting Memorial Day weekend. And a 14-week sand restoration on Waikiki Beach has just been completed, roughly doubling the width of the beach in most sections.

Gov. Ige, it’s time to let the vaxed people fly.

About Geraldine Higgins

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