By Keith Allen and Josh Campbell, CNN
With Hawaii close to hitting key vaccination milestones, Gov. David Ige announced Thursday the state will soon begin to relax some of the travel restrictions currently in place.
As of July 8, fully vaccinated travelers from the mainland US will be able to bypass quarantine and pre-travel testing requirements when traveling to Hawaii, Ige said.
Travelers must present a hard copy of their vaccination records and upload their records into the state’s ‘Safe Travels’ program, Ige told reporters.
“I know that this change has been widely anticipated, and it will make it easier for residents to return home, and for visitors to come and enjoy our islands,” Ige said.
Currently, all travelers must either undergo a 10-day quarantine or — if traveling from other US states or from Canada, Japan, South Korea or Taiwan — avoid quarantine by presenting a negative test from a “trusted partner,” a list of which can be found on the Hawaii Covid-19 website.
The state’s Covid travel program was announced and implemented in October 2020.
There are more changes afoot as well. Beginning July 8, Hawaii will increase indoor gathering sizes from 10 to 25 people, and raise outdoor gathering limits from 25 to 75 people, the governor added.
Restaurants will also be allowed to operate at 75% capacity beginning July 8, with a maximum of 25 patrons indoors and 75 outdoors.
Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate will remain in place for the time being, but Ige said he looked forward to the uptick in visitors to the Aloha State.
“We believe that it’ll make it easier for those who have been vaccinated to travel to Hawaii, and we do believe that it will help somewhat in bringing more visitors here. We know that they can also help us internationally as well,” Ige said.
On June 15, all restrictions on inter-county travel were lifted, meaning no pre-travel testing or quarantining was needed for travel between the Hawaiian islands.
As of Thursday, according to the state’s health data, 57% of the total population has been fully vaccinated and 62% have received at least one shot.
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Pictured: Long lines at Honolulu International Airport when its Covid travel program launched in October 2020.