Hawaii pushing back date for vaccine passports, but good news on Kauai
Those who were hoping to travel to Hawaii with vaccine passports come this May are in for some disappointment. Hawaii Gov. David Ige held a news conference yesterday where he said the state was still working on a Safe Travel vaccine passport but that it wasn't coming May 1 as originally hoped. Other state leaders said summertime is a more realistic timeline.
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The governor said they were focused on getting shots into arms and hadn't made vaccine record keeping a priority. Ige said, “The challenge is that there is no comprehensive record of those who have been vaccinated in Hawaii."
The vaccine passport idea was first broached back in February when it was thought it could be up and running as soon as May. It would have allowed vaccinated travelers to skip quarantine and potentially even testing requirements.
Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii right now
For now, Ige says they are working with two companies to see about verifying vaccination records for residents. Two companies -- Clear's Health Pass and CommonPass -- are working on digital vaccine passes rights now and are teaming with Hawaii on the efforts.
Related: 7 things I love about reopened Mauna Lani
As my colleague Zach Honig reported, Clear is already verifying tests and data for some Hawaii trips, though not yet for vaccinations. It's coming, though, eventually.
Related: Hawaii making it easier to visit
Related: Clear Health Pass could help speed Hawaii travel
Meantime, Ige also said the state is not yet ready to open up inter-island travel without testing requirements. The governor said COVID-19 case counts on Maui and Oahu remain high: “I think we do support limiting travel between these counties and others until we can get more people vaccinated so we can prevent [the] virus spreading island to island."
Related: Fair warning: Hawaii is crowded again
There are some islands you can visit without a second test. For example, if you fly into Hawaii -- either Kona International Airport (KOA) or Hilo International Airport (ITO) -- you can then fly to Oahu without a second test or a quarantine. However, if you try to do the reverse, flying from Honolulu to Kona, you will need to have another COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours and complete Safe Travels forms again.
Right now, you get a COVID-19 test from an approved company, upload the results into the state of Hawaii’s portal, answer a series of questions and, once you’ve followed all those steps, you get a QR code to show upon arrival.
Here’s TPG’s complete guide to the rules to visit Hawaii.
There was some great news on Monday, though. The island of Kauai, which had been off-limits without visitors staying in a resort bubble, began allowing visitors to use the Safe Travels program that is being used by the other islands. That will make visiting Kauai much easier. It also prompted several resorts that had been closed to reopen. They include the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa ,which has been the island's largest employer.
Related: Kauai expanding resort bubbles
The island of Kauai also announced a new Kokua Kauai Card program. Visitors who get a second COVID-19 test 72 hours after arrival and install the AlohaSafe Alert app will get a QR code that gives them access to discounts at shops, restaurants and on activities.
You can hear about what it was like in January on Kauai here.