Hawaii has outlined a plan for reopening and it works for both the people of Hawaii and the tourism sector – an exceptional model for the world.
Hawaii Outlines New Guidelines For Reopening Fully
This week the State of Hawaii has indicated that travel to the Hawaiian islands will undergo a giant shift once the state reaches 70% vaccination. The current policies for travel to Hawaii require all passengers (included vaccinated travelers) to submit a negative COVID-19 result from an approved testing facility.
Among the restrictions that would be removed are:
- Mandatory 10-day quarantines
- Disclosure of vaccination status and proof
- Inter-island travel restrictions
- Testing requirements 72 hours prior to departure
- Social distancing
- Wearing a Mask
- Capacity restrictions at restaurants, bars, hotels, and public gatherings
- Fines associated with breaking the new regulations
President Biden and the CDC have set forth a target of 70% fully vaccinated by July 4th to reopen the country, at least in part, and begin removing restrictions. Hawaii has a leg up on other states with the same goal in mind as there are just 1.4M Hawaii residents; that leaves just 228,000 to be vaccinated before all COVID-19 restrictions are removed.
Some experts have suggested it could be the end of summer before the goal is achieved, others have said before July is out.
Governor David Ige Defends
Some Hawaiian residents questioned Gov. Ige’s decision to completely reopen based on the benchmarks he has set forth.
“We are hoping that gets back to normal. Restaurants can reopen at full capacity and we can begin school activities back to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.
Would dropping all restrictions be safe?
“We do believe that it would be safe,” said Ige. “We will continue to monitor the new cases that we see. We are very concerned about the variant.” – Hawaii News Now
Ige added some additional incentives to avoid a sense of all-or-nothing expanding indoor and outdoor dining occupancy, event attendance once the vaccination reaches 60%. Currently, 53% of the state is said to be vaccinated.
A Model For Some But Not All Destinations
The state has set clear guidelines for what will constitute reopening. Canada did something similar a few weeks ago but has already shifted to allowing for once 75% of Canadians are partially vaccinated as Europe and the US begin to reunite. What makes the Hawaii proposition so strong is that it is clear that the rest of the restrictions go away too. No lingering capacity restrcitions, no mask mandates or social distancing hangers on. That makes it clearer for visitors as to the experience they will have as well.
My family has missed visiting Hong Kong, but even if visitors were allowed in tomorrow we know that it wouldn’t yet be the same experience and therefore, we might be better to wait.
Hawaii, and much of the United States, benefit from advantages other nations – even wealthy nations – do not. For example, Canada has had difficulty gaining access to several vaccines widely available in the US. The European Union was limited in its vaccine access for some time as well. This is to say nothing for countries that cannot afford to provide adequate access for their citizenry.
Brazil is one country that certainly has the resources to follow the Hawaii model. Even though the country offers health care to every person in the country rolling out mass health care protocol will be a challenge.
Hawaii’s model is one to follow if a territory can offer means to achieving the goal and is cleear about what that goal represents.
I’m very happy to see Hawaii move in this direction. It sends clear messages to the local Hawaii residents as well as visitors. The benchmarks are achievable and there are milestones along the way that return the islands to normal life – not a new normal, the old normal. Whether others can or will follow Hawaii’s lead remains to be seen, but it’s a start.
What do you think? Is Hawaii’s plan sound? Will others eemulate? If so, what other states/territories/countries would be a good target?