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Hawaii Launches a Digital Health Pass As Vaccination Requirements Increase

·2 min read

With more restaurants, bars, and other indoor venues in Hawaii requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, the state is launching a digital health pass.

Like the digital health passes being adopted in France, New York, California, and Louisiana, Hawaii's system uses QR codes to confirm vaccination status. Governor David Ige described it as "another step toward protecting the health and safety of our residents and visitors, while also balancing the need to support local businesses and Hawaii's economy."

Getting set up with the Hawaii Smart Health Card is as easy as creating an account, taking a picture of your vaccination record, and entering some information. After your vaccination record has been verified by the system, you'll receive a QR code that will serve as your pass into the growing number of Hawaiian venues requiring COVID-19 vaccination.

Scenic views of Kauai from above at the end of the road on the North Shore.
Scenic views of Kauai from above at the end of the road on the North Shore.

Matthew Micah Wright/Getty Images

Honolulu already requires vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to sit indoors at restaurants and bars and visit indoor sites like museums. Maui plans to begin requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for indoor dining and drinking starting on Sept. 15.

There are, however, two catches travelers hoping to leave their paper CDC cards at the hotel will need to keep in mind. The digital pass can't be used for travel to Hawaii and is only available to people who received their COVID-19 vaccinations in the state. Those who are eligible will need to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to applying for the pass.

Anyone vaccinated outside of Hawaii may still need a hard copy of their vaccination record to access bars and restaurants, a policy officials said could vary from county to county. Others vaccinated at sites whose information isn't yet included in state databases may also need to bring paper proof with them.

Those who do qualify for the Hawaii digital health pass will be able to access their QR codes through the state's Safe Travels app. Registering with the app is already required for travel to Hawaii. Use of the Hawaii Smart Health Card, which is now available, is voluntary.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.