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As cases rise, new tensions surface between the vaccinated and those opting not to be

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:08 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 4:57 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the recent surge in COVID infections, frustration is mounting over vaccine holdouts.

And some say it’s time to get tough with them.

“It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating because I felt we’ve all done our bit ― those who have been vaccinated, those who have been locked down, those who have been quarantine,” said Jessie Black, of Lanikai.

“You just kind of feel the frustration when other people are letting the team down.”

The number of new daily cases in Hawaii had been below 100 for most of the summer as the vaccinations became more available.

But after the July Fourth weekend, cases began to soar again, raising worries that restrictions may be reinstated. And cases have remained in the triple digits for nearly two weeks.

“What it does it hurts me, it hurts my wife. I have a hard time with masks ― hard of breathing,” said Kailua resident Charles Volheim.

To boost vaccination rates, the state and local businesses have tried incentives like travel and cash prizes. But as the number of people getting their shots has plateaued, some business are now requiring workers to get vaccinated.

Some believe broader mandates will help flatten the curve.

“I know that there have been talks about limiting travel and certain privileges for people who are unvaccinated,” said Black.

“I feel if that helps incentivize people to be vaccinated ― and if that helps keep my parents and my family safe and other people’s family safe ― how can that be a bad thing?”

Added Rob Hercher of St. Louis, Missouri:

“I think other people’s choices are affecting my life and I don’t care for that so I would rather everybody get vaccinated and do the right thing and then we can move forward,” he said.

But others feel that mandates encroach on personal liberties.

“I think that will infringe on our rights a little bit because it is something that is injected into your body and will affect your health, said Gabriela Patronis, a visitor from Louisiana.

“I feel like guidelines and certain situations are okay but I don’t think we can continue to keep shutting down ... because our economy is going to crash.”

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