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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.

Go deeper

Dec 6, 2021 - Health

Cruise ship COVID outbreak: Louisiana officials find "probable" Omicron case

The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship. Photo: Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Louisiana health authorities said a suspected Omicron case was one of 17 confirmed COVID-19 infections among the passengers and crew of a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that returned to New Orleans Sunday.

Driving the news: The Norwegian Breakaway departed New Orleans on Nov. 28 with more than 3,200 people on board, before making stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico, according to a Louisiana Department of Health statement.

Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries

New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul COVID-19 addresses rising cases in the state and the new variant Omicron at a press conference in November. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Monday that some state hospitals will be ordered to halt certain elective surgeries in an effort to combat a recent COVID-19 surge, Hochul said at a press conference.

Why it matters: New York has struggled with hospital capacity throughout the pandemic and postponed nonessential procedures before.

Updated Dec 6, 2021 - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.