Just as Hawaii loosened restrictions and reopened domestically, hoping to bolster their ailing (and much relied upon) tourism sector, the Delta variant has seen new cases surge. Now Hawaiian Governor David Ige has announced the reintroduction of restrictions that affect restaurants, bars, and gatherings.
“The Delta variant has truly changed the COVID-19 pandemic here in the islands. We have seen increased transmission and we must take action in order that our health system is not overwhelmed,” Ige stated along with his new (old) protocols:
- There will be a limit of 10 people for indoor social gatherings
- A limit of 25 people on outdoor social gatherings
- Gyms, restaurants, bars will abide by a 50 percent indoor capacity at maximum
- Masks will be mandated indoors unless drinking or eating
- “Mingling” is discouraged
Visitors to the tropical island state have already shown annoyance at long wait times at restaurants. The tightened restrictions will only add to these frustrations with events, evenings out and tours also affected, adding to the frustrations.
Ige shared that it would likely be four to six weeks before seeing a significant reduction in the case counts the state is seeing.
Despite around 60 percent of Hawaii’s population being fully vaccinated, the state has seen a 168% rise in COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks; recording its most cases since the pandemic began.
Ige implored, “We are hopeful that if people do their part and they maintain physical distance, we can have the case counts drop more quickly than that, but clearly it would be up to all of us as a community to successfully fight against the transmission of COVID-19.”
Zero changes will be made to Hawaii’s Safe Travels program which was implemented back in early July, meaning U.S residents with proof of vaccine will not be restricted by quarantines when traveling to and from Hawaii.
Along with carrying a hard copy of their vaccination card in their person, travelers will be required to upload to their Safe Travels Hawaii account:
An official CDC COVID-19 vaccination card
DOD DD Form 2766C or a VAMS printout
Children under 5 are not required to test or quarantine if they’re with a fully vaccinated adult on their trip. International visitors are still not able to visit Hawaii, despite the pressure being put on Governor Ige.