Resolutions urge Ige to ease travel quarantine on vaccinated persons

  • San Buenaventura

A pair of resolutions will be introduced today by state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, an Oahu Democrat, that would ease travel restrictions in Hawaii for vaccinated individuals.

Senate Resolution 53 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 71 urges Gov. David Ige to allow travelers arriving to Hawaii, including interisland travel, to bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine if they provide proof that they have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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“We need to be accepting the fact that people are getting vaccines. And there needs to be incentives towards getting a vaccination,” said Sen. Joy San Buenaventura, a Puna Democrat.

Although testing isn’t specifically mentioned in the resolutions, it’s assumed those individuals who are vaccinated will no longer have to take pre-flight COVID-19 tests — or the additional post-flight testing required of arrivals on Hawaii Island.

“For me, I use up a lot of tests going back and forth, because I test weekly. And so do all the neighbor island legislators I know of, and basically using up tests to test negative,” San Buenaventura said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that individuals who have been vaccinated are no longer required to quarantine after exposure to someone with coronavirus, as long as they have received both doses of the vaccine and at least two weeks have elapsed since the second dose was administered.

The agency also issued guidance that allows those who have been fully vaccinated to gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask and gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

“You know, CDC even allows for gatherings when you’re vaccinated. And the CDC guidelines allow for travel after vaccination, so … it’s a small step towards normalcy,” San Buenaventura said.

The resolutions specify second doses — which the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require — although Johnson &Johnson’s one-shot vaccine also is being rolled out, and people in Hawaii soon will be receiving it.

San Buenaventura said the resolutions can be amended to reflect the differences.

The resolutions, if adopted, don’t have the force of law, but are legislative input to the governor, who is exercising emergency powers during the pandemic.

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“With over 400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered statewide, our policies need to be reflective of not just our mass vaccination efforts, but of the medical advice from the CDC,” Kim said in a statement. “By easing travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals, we can provide a safe approach to reopening our tourism industry and rebooting our economy.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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