Hawaii governor invites vaccinated tourists to start coming back on Nov. 1

HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige announced Wednesday that Hawaii will be “open to vaccinated residents and visitors who are traveling domestically and between islands for business or pleasure, starting Nov. 1.”

Ige made the announcement at the opening of the permanent Federal Inspection Services facility at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport.

On Aug. 23, in response to a summer surge in cases, Ige asked travelers to avoid nonessential travel to Hawaii through October.

Ige issued a statement today highlighting the state’s recent progress in the pandemic fight.

“I think we are all encouraged by what we’ve seen over the last several weeks with the continuing trend of lower case counts, " Ige said. “Our hospitals are doing better, and we have fewer COVID patients in them. Most importantly, our health care system has responded, and we have the ability to move forward with economic recovery. Because of this, it is now safe for fully vaccinated residents and visitors to resume non-essential travel to and within the State of Hawaii.”

Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president and CEO Mufi Hannemann said he and a statewide coalition of representatives from tourism, restaurants, retail, ground and air transportation, labor unions, and chambers of commerce had pushed hard for the Nov. 1 timeline.

“While we recognize that there are still details that need to be sorted out—paying special mind to input from the county mayors and information provided by the healthcare community and the business sector—this announcement is an important first step toward getting our economy moving again safely and judiciously, " Hannemann said.

Hannemann also commended Hawaii island Mayor Mitch Roth for making it clear that Hawaii wants “healthy, vaccinated travelers to return to Hawaii as soon as possible.”

“We look forward to working with Gov. Ige and his administration to shape a clear message to prospective travelers that Hawaii is open for business and travel can once again be booked with confidence, " he said.