Oct 21, 2021 - Economy

Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1

 Governor of Hawaii David Ige presents the 'Group of the Year' award during the 39th Na Hoku Hanohano Awards at Hawaii Convention Center on May 28, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige. Photo: Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced plans Wednesday to soon welcome back nonresidents to the island state who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for nonessential travel.

Why it matters: Hawaii's tourist-dependent labor market suffered one of the worst blows in the U.S. last year and the state's climb out of its pandemic-sized hole is moving slowly, Axios' Courtenay Brown notes.

The big picture: Ige urged tourists last August not to visit as the Delta variant left Hawaii's hospitals inundated, per the Washington Post.

  • The governor said during a Wednesday briefing that there were now fewer coronavirus hospitalizations so it's again safe to travel in and out of the state.
"Beginning November 1st, we want to invite and encourage fully vaccinated visitors and residents to travel for business or leisure, trans-Pacific and inter-island."
— Ige

What they're saying: Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president and CEO Mufi Hannemann noted to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that there were "still details that need to be sorted out" before the Nov. 1 timeline he and others in the state's business sector had pushed for.

  • But Hannemann added, "this announcement is an important first step toward getting our economy moving again safely and judiciously."

Of note: "The state's travel requirements — which allow visitors from the United States and U.S. territories to bypass a 10-day quarantine with proof of vaccination or a test — remain in place," WashPost reports.

By the numbers: The state's new COVID-19 cases rate has fallen by nearly 50% in the past two weeks, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health.

  • About 70% of Hawaii's population is fully vaccinated against the virus.
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