Starting next week, anybody traveling to Hawaii will have to have gotten a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated. Currently, under the state's Safe Travels program, only U.S. residents may visit, and they must be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID test taken within one day of travel or undergo a mandatory five-day quarantine.
The new policy was slated to take effect on January 8 but was pushed back to January 24 to give people more time to get a booster shot.
"We know that the community needs time to react to that, so we would have to provide at least two weeks for those who may not be up-to-date to go to have the opportunity to go and get vaccinated if they need to," Governor David Ige said.
Ige also said he is consulting local officials about requiring booster shots for people who attend public gatherings and events.
Hawaii has seen a smaller number of COVID cases and deaths during the pandemic than other states. Health officials have reported 166,008 cases and only 1,123 deaths since 2020. The state has also done a good job vaccinating residents, with 75% of eligible adults having received the full course of a COVID-19 vaccine.