HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he will not mandate booster shots for travelers coming to the islands, an idea he said last week he was still considering.
“In making this decision, we considered declining COVID-19 case counts in Hawaii, the continental U.S. and Europe,“ Ige said in a statement. ”Hospitalizations have also dropped.”
Ige said he encourages people to get boosted and will keep his indoor mask mandate for public places.
Maui on Monday ended its booster mandate for businesses like bars, restaurants and gyms.
“We made this decision in close coordination with the four county mayors, the Department of Health, and in collaboration with Hawaii’s travel, hotel, tourism, transportation, retail and restaurant industries,” Gen. Kenneth Hara, incident commander of the state’s COVID-19 response, said in a statement.
Ige said concerns from the visitor industry were considered, but he said he made this decision on the health and safety of Hawaii residents and efforts they are taking to get both vaccines and boosters.
State health director Dr. Libby Char said even though booster shots are not required currently for travelers, they continue to be effective in reducing serious illness.
“Omicron case counts are dropping but we don’t know if or when we may see another surge in cases of COVID-19. Getting vaccinated and boosted now will help to prevent you from becoming seriously ill,” she said.