Hawaii has announced that is working on a vaccine passport system to incorporate into its testing and screening programmes ahead of a hoped-for summer rush of visitors.
The state government is working with three different companies – Clear, CommonPass and First Vitals – to develop a vaccine passport system that can be incorporated into its ‘Safe Travels’ programme, which has been in place since last year and requires everyone aged five or over entering the state needs proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival; failing that, they must quarantine for 10 days.
The state hopes to roll out the system initially for inter-island travel starting May 1, and then for out-of-state travel from June or July, depending on the success of the initial pilot.
“It can be a game-changer for Hawaii,” said Hawaii’s Lt Governor Josh Green. “We’ve already seen a large uptick in travel numbers. We have the [lowest] Covid-19 infection rates in the country, and I think a lot of people are deciding it’s time for a trip to Hawaii. A vaccine passport program will have an enormous impact, and I’m pushing the governor and team hard to accept the program. We need to have this in place before summer travel so it’s all buttoned up for everyone interested in coming.”
The three companies working on the passport are working together rather than against each other in their search for a solution on how to integrate the system into the existing Safe Travels programme.
“We’ve had 2.2 million travellers since Safe Travels started and restored 50,000 jobs, but it’s still an ongoing process,” Green said. “The world is not out of Covid risk yet. We continue to vaccinate our residents here, but Hawaii won’t reach a herd immunity state until around July 4. It’s all connected, and we need to continue to be safe. We continue to ask travellers to wear masks and socially distance.”
Three companies and the state government working together to restore tourism to an island that heavily depends on tourism revenue? It’s a lesson that we can all learn from.
(Photo by Braden Jarvis)