Lt. Gov. Green: Hawaii looking at requiring proof of vaccination for indoor activities

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File photo of a restaurant in Hawaii(Hawaii News Now/file)
Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 2:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii could potentially implement a program that would require people to show proof of vaccination at indoor bars, restaurants and gyms, similar to New York City and San Francisco, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Friday.

“It is something we’re working up right now,” Green told Hawaii News Now. “And it would be temporary. People should think of it as a reward for going the extra mile for safety. It should not be a punishment.”

New York City was the first in the nation to institute a vaccine mandate for these indoor businesses, and San Francisco followed suit by adopting a similar policy.

“We have several partners, we could use the Safe Travels website, so we could get a QR code that way, we could use Clear and Common Pass,” Green said.

Green also spoke to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in its Spotlight Honolulu conversation on Friday, saying that this proposal would soon be presented to the governor.

He said a lockdown — or even a curfew — is not something they would put into place right now because the focus should be on restricting gatherings and increasing vaccinations to curb the spread of COVID.

“I know there are people out there who say ‘just shut it all down,’ but that’s a pretty difficult thing to do when suddenly a family that got vaccinated won’t be able to pay their rent, won’t be able to pay their mortgage, won’t be able to pay for groceries for their children, may not have extra unemployment protection,” he said. “They got vaccinated. They’ve done the right thing, so that’s where the debate really is.”

On a similar note, he said the state would likely not reinstate a pre-travel testing program for vaccinated people because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says travel for vaccinated people is safe and that it wouldn’t stand up in court.

The focus should be on community spread, not travel, which accounts for a small percentage of cases.

“With fewer people coming, there would be fewer people working and interacting with one another, and so case counts would come down, but the cost would be, of course, poverty would rise. People would not be able to pay their rents and so on,” Green said.

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