It was a year that changed life as we knew it. Most significantly, it was a time when we lost so many—family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors—all precious and irreplaceable. That’s why our most important responsibility right now is to protect the health and well-being of everyone in Hawai‘i. We will continue to take the tough actions necessary to keep our community safe, including the Safe Travels airport screening program. Hawai‘i was among the first to demand pre-travel testing and quarantine procedures. That’s one of the reasons we lead the nation with the lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates.
We are also implementing a comprehensive strategy for the distribution of vaccines in every county, getting vaccine to people where they live and where they are able to receive it. And we will be working with the Biden administration to expedite the distribution of vaccines to everyone. My thanks to the Hawai‘i National Guard, the private hospitals and the county mayors, who played such a large role in assisting us. Finally, protecting everyone’s health means staying the course because we are far from being out of the woods. This responsibility is one that is shared by all. We must all continue to wear a mask, wash our hands, watch our distance and get vaccinated.