COVID-Vaccinated Hawaii Travelers Can Soon Bypass Mandatory Quarantine

by Madison Vanderberg

Hawaii governor issues emergency proclamation to start accepting COVID-19 vaccine cards for entry into Aloha state

Since the start of the pandemic, most overseas travel has been off-limits to U.S. travelers, meaning wanderlust-having Americans are pretty much all going to Hawaii this year. To deal with pandemic tourism, Hawaii implemented a strict testing and quarantine process to enter the Aloha state and now that more Americans are getting vaccines, Hawaii is about to implement something all anti-vaxxers are going to freak out about, yes, I’m talking about a “vaccine passport.”

Though it’s not being called a “vaccine passport,” Hawaii is the first major vacation destination to state that travelers who show proof of vaccination will be allowed to bypass the state’s quarantine and testing mandates. If Hawaii is already doing it (and New York already launched their version of a vaccine passport), then I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world’s major vacation and travel destination follow suit.

Currently, anyone who enters Hawaii is subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine period.

However, there are two exceptions to the quarantine: a negative COVID test from an approved testing site taken within 72 hours prior to arrival or, you can arrive via a boat that has been at sea for at least 10 consecutive days with no positive COVID cases.

Eventually, you won’t have to do either of those things if you are fully vaccinated. Hawaii Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on the subject, adding vaccinations to its list of quarantine exemptions. The exception is not yet available, as it will need to be accepted by Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Hara, director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, though it’s expected to and more details should be on the Safe Travels website soon.

This is big news, not just for the future of vaccine passports, but due to Hawaii’s strict testing process, many travelers have gone viral after arriving at a Hawaii airport and being told they have to quarantine or go back home.

Travelers are usually denied entry to vacation in Hawaii because they either took a COVID-19 test at a site not approved by Hawaii, took the wrong kind of test, were tested outside the 72-hour window, or got tested too late and their results didn’t come in on time. On top of this, COVID-19 testing can cost nearly $200 a swab, making an already expensive family trip that much more unattainable. Being able to travel to Hawaii with only your vaccine card would be so nice.

When this vaccine-exemption is finalized for Hawaii, the response from the right is going to be extremely predictable, I’m sure. Those who tend to be anti-vax and pro-freedom (and that venn diagram has a huge overlap) have been freaking out about so-called “vaccine passports” for months now, despite the fact that none exist quite yet.

Florida’s governor already banned “vaccine passports” so at least you know that when all the sensible vacation destinations enact their version of vaccine passports, MAGA-heads are always free to travel to Florida and catch COVID-19. It’s vaccine passport summer, baby!