HONOLULU (AP) —
Proof of vaccination or a negative test was required as of Monday to visit most Oahu businesses and state facilities.
The move comes as the delta variant has caused COVID-19 case counts to rise dramatically across the state in the last few weeks, Hawaii News Now reported.
Under Honolulu’s Safe Access Oahu program, patrons at businesses like restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and other establishments will need to show their vaccine card, a photo of it or use the state's SMART Health Card and Safe Travels program. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can also produce a negative COVD-19 test taken within the last 48 hours.
Honolulu joins other cities such as New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and the U.S. territory of Guam that have implemented similar requirements.
Employees at those businesses will also have to prove they are vaccinated or undergo testing weekly.
“You’ll see a lot of managers at the front desk, you’ll see a lot of personnel so that we don’t have long lines at the front,” said Sheryl Matsuoka, the executive director for the Hawaii Restaurant Association. “They’ll be explaining that today is the first day, please have patience.”
The association says this is an alterative they will take instead of shutting down. They encourage people to get takeout if they don’t meet the other requirements.
Gyms are expecting some members to either cancel or pause memberships.
“It has gone smoothly so far,” said Barnaby Smith, the district manager for 24 Hour Fitness. “We started verifying documents on Friday, and folks were prepared.”
Hawaii has also begun a vaccine mandate for most state facilities. It also requires proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test from most visitors and from all state contractors.
The new rules also apply to everyone at airports, from pilots to gate workers to gift shop employees, the state Department of Transportation said.