Shortly after announcing visitors would be expected to show proof of a booster dose to enter venues in the county, Maui authorities have doubled back and will no longer move forward with the requirement. Interestingly enough, Maui had been the first county in Hawaii to impose mandatory boosters for certain activities. However, as the epidemiological scenario improves, social curbs are being loosened.
Throughout January, visitors to Maui had to show proof of a booster to bypass tougher mandates. It meant that those who had been immunized more than five months before traveling, and had not had the third dose yet, were no longer considered fully vaccinated. That has once again changed unexpectedly.
Boosters No Longer Mandatory For Travel To Maui
Since the pandemic started, Hawaii has enacted some of the strictest restrictions within the United States. From banning cruise ships for months, to having their own pre-travel registration, the Aloha State has not hesitated to impose tight travel rules with very few warnings in response to Covid, especially when new variants arose.
Recently, the state also mulled requesting proof of a booster dose for mainland Americans and foreigners visiting, though with the latest news coming from Maui, that may no longer be the case.
The famous county, which comprises the tourist hotspots of Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, and Molokini, has officially scrapped the booster requirement as of this week. From February 6, visitors and residents alike will no longer need to hold a booster card when dining in restaurants, accessing gym facilities, or any other leisure complexes across the county.
As reported by local TV station KHON, Maui’s Mayor Michael Victoriano has confirmed that showing “proof of updated vaccinations” will cease being mandatory. Instead, Maui is returning to the two-dose requirement and shifting to simply recommending locals to get a booster dose.
The news will certainly be welcomed by travelers who are yet to take up a new shot and have a scheduled trip to the island, as well as local business owners who feared the new requirement would have a negative impact on their ability to respond to tourist demands.
Favorable Epidemiological Situation Behind The Decision
After emerging as a highly transmissible variant and causing numerous countries to close down again, Omicron seems to be getting controlled at last. In Hawaii, cases have fallen sharply in recent weeks, with the state’s Department of Health reporting a case count of only 916 on February 6. Curiously, merely two weeks prior the state had recorded a record 6,252 cases (January 18).
Since the apparent peak was reached, cases have been declining continuously. On February 6, the day the booster restriction was eased, 107 cases were reported in Maui specifically, while other popular destinations such as Hawaii Island and Oahu registered 155 and 537, respectively. The trend was also observed on February 7, with Maui totaling 92 cases, Hawaii Island 125, and Oahu 488.
According to Maui Now, the county’s seven-day average of Covid infections is now 88.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Even though that is surely an improvement over the 412.1 average reported on January 21, 2022, when Omicron was still rampant, the rate is far above the Delta peak of 57.6 per 100,000, as registered on August 25, 2021. Still, Maui seems ready to drop its guard once again.
What Are The Rules For Traveling To Maui Right Now?
While Hawaii,, including Maui, is open for tourism, domestic arrivals (travelers from fellow U.S. states and territories) still must show either proof of being vaccinated or a negative pre-departure Covid test to avoid a 5-day quarantine.
These documents can be uploaded to Hawaii’s Safe Travels program website to ensure a smoother experience upon arrival. Additionally, travelers are advised to bring a printed copy of the health form and pass when flying to Hawaii.
When unvaccinated and hoping to visit the state in possession of a negative test, passengers must have taken the test no later than 72 hours prior to traveling. Tests taken from one of the state’s Trusted Testing and Travel Partners are the only acceptable ones.
When unable to undertake tests from one of the providers enlisted, travelers are required to have their results validated by the Digital Health Pass Partners.
When it comes to international travelers, the State of Hawaii is aligned with the mainland United States. Currently, all arrivals must present a negative Covid test issued in the day preceding arrival when entering the U.S. from abroad, regardless of American nationality or vaccination status. When arriving in Maui or other Hawaiian destinations from the mainland U.S., non-American travelers must follow domestic traveler rules.
This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest breaking news that will affect your next trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories