Businesses prepare to comply with Safe Access Oahu ― and brace for its impacts

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 9:59 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 4:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of businesses are preparing to comply with the Safe Access Oahu program ― and bracing for its potential impacts.

Under the program, which goes into effect Sept. 13, patrons at restaurants, entertainment venues and gyms will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within the last 48 hours.

Workout facilities are already working out the logistics for next week.

And there’s mixed reaction within the community.

“I was not the happiest because it puts little extra steps telling people what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Patricia Carrera, co-owner of Hot Yoga Kapolei.

“I feel as the business owners, we shouldn’t be telling people what to do with their bodies, but I’m very grateful as a business owner that I can still be here providing services for my community.”

Some gyms say they’ve already begun to lose members.

But the YMCA said they’ve also seen folks sign up because people now feel safe. They said most of their members, however, are fully vaccinated.

“We don’t mind showing our vaccinations or we feel a lot better and safer,” said Karen Momohara, a YMCA member who frequents the Leeward branch.

The YMCA said it is supportive of the measure, especially since there’s an option for testing. But staff is worried about how that will play out.

“We do believe that the state and city has to provide more free access to testing that’s easily available and free for those folks that are making those choices,” said Lisa Ontai, vice president of marketing and mission advancement for the YMCA of Honolulu.

“Especially for those who have a religious or medical reason for not getting a vaccination. But we’re ready. "

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