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Booster shots may be the future of Hawaii's Safe Travels program as the state looks to change the definition of "fully vaccinated," the state's governor said in a recent interview.
Gov. David Ige recently said the state is looking into adding a COVID-19 booster requirement to its travel program he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The program allows domestic travelers to skip quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative test before traveling,
But the changes would be weeks away from being implemented.
"We are looking to see what actions are necessary to implement that in Safe Travels," Ige said. "We know that the community needs time to react to that, so we would have to provide at least two weeks for those who may not be up to date to have the opportunity to go and get vaccinated if they need to."
The decision to consider requiring a booster shot comes after Hawaii eliminated the need for domestic travelers to fill out an online health form prior to their arrival and shortened its isolation and quarantine policies to be more in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It also comes after Maui already changed the definition of "fully vaccinated" to include a booster shot. Additionally, both Maui and Honolulu require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter businesses like restaurants.
"This is a very different surge… and there is no playbook," Ige said. "I do respect the mayors' abilities to make decisions. They continue to look at the situation in each of their counties and are taking appropriate actions that they feel is necessary."
Hawaii isn't the only place to implement booster shot requirements. On Monday, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City started requiring all performers, employees, and audience members to show proof of a COVID-19 booster shot. And last year, Israel started requiring booster shots for anyone looking to obtain a "green pass," which is required to access public spaces like restaurants.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.