Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Tuesday said that Hawaii will once again welcome travelers starting on Nov. 1, almost two months since asking tourists to stay away because of rising COVID-19 case counts.
Travelers will still have to abide by the state’s COVID-19 protocols, which include showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.
However, the news on Tuesday means that Hawaii is finally inviting travelers back to the islands, something that Ige said the state was holding off on earlier this month, and something that has caused an uneven recovery for Hawaii’s tourism industry.
According to Worldometers, since reaching a high of 1,678 daily cases at the end of August, Hawaii’s daily COVID-19 case count has dropped to below 100. That, along with a drop in hospitalizations, has left the state optimistic about a return to normal, and an eventual return to regular tourism, ahead of the new year.
“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,” Ige said in Kailua-Kona on Tuesday, according to the AP.
Hawaii’s Safe Travels testing program will remain in place until at least December. That program requires all non-vaccinated tourists to show a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours prior to departure. Those who are unvaccinated and don't show proof of a test will continue to be forced to quarantine upon arrival.