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Hawaii Ends Mask Mandate And Travel Restrictions
Hawaii has ended mask mandates and travel restrictions it had in place for the last two years, to flatten the curve caused by COVID-19. Being the last state in the United States to relax these restrictions, tourists and citizens will see changes to the current rules.
Initially, Hawaii had policies which were more restrictive than other U.S. states. For almost two years, tourists had two options to be allowed entry. They would have to quarantine, or they would have to have a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of entry.
Now, the program, called Safe Travels, has been disbanded. Guests can now fly into the state without having either the test, or partake in quarantine.
When indoors, masks are also no longer required. Tourists and citizens alike can now go to the grocery store, state parks and more without wearing a mask. Emotions are mixed about Hawaii ending the mask mandate and travel restrictions.
Many in the tourism sector are ready, ecstatic even, about the recent changes. Tony Reed, the manager of Duke’s Waikiki, an open air restaurant on the island, stated to the New York Times, “We are ready to burn the masks.”
Not everyone in Hawaii shares the same excitement. Some are still worried about opening the state up.
Bianca, a resident of Hawaii, who chose to only give her first name, told Travel Noire, “I truly respect how hard the state has tried to contain this virus and to keep its residents safe. We have an enormous amount of tourists flying in each day. The fact that our numbers have remained comparatively low speaks volumes to how effective the safety measures have been. I’m happy the numbers here are low enough for the state to drop the mask mandate. I do wish they were still requiring negative COVID tests to fly into the state, though, just because the biggest indoor crowds are in the tourist areas.”
About 83% of the people of Hawaii have had at least one shot against the infectious disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. This statistic played a big part in the decision, as did the rates of infection decreasing. The state will continue to evaluate the infection rate and will make changes accordingly.