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Maui County to require COVID vaccine cards for indoor dining at restaurants

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:20 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:50 PM HST
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MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Beginning next week, vaccine cards will be required to dine indoors at Maui restaurants.

“Customers will be required to show vaccination, vaccination cards, or some sort of verification. And those who don’t have it, if they have outside seating, they’re allowed to sit outside and/or takeout,” said Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino at a news conference on Friday.

Victorino said his request has already been approved by Governor David Ige and it will take effect on Sept. 15.

It’s similar to Honolulu’s Safe Access Oahu program that also begins on Sept. 13.

Victorino hasn’t yet mentioned if any other businesses besides restaurants will be required to check for vaccination cards. He said more details will be released on Tuesday.

“We feel like they’re just handcuffing us,” said Aaron Placourakis.

Placourakis owns four restaurants on Maui – Nick’s Fishmarket, Son’z Steakhouse, Manoli’s Pizza Company and Koho’s.

He says he understands the need to limit the spread of COVID in his community but is questioning why the requirement is only for restaurants.

“We don’t mind being team players, but we don’t feel like we should be the only ones that take the brunt of it. Are they talking to the airlines? What are they doing different?” Placourakis said.

Maui County has the lowest COVID vaccination rate in the state at just 57%.

Some Maui residents say the new rule won’t entice people to get vaccinated, it will only hurt the restaurants even more.

“People just won’t go,” said a Maui resident who asked not to be named.

“It’s not very fair to the restaurants and there are so many other businesses that don’t have this restriction and the restaurants have already been through so much and they’re already struggling to stay in business,” she said.

It’s also still unclear how the new vaccine card program will be enforced.

“We have to self-police,” said Placourakis. “So, all of a sudden, we have to be experts on what’s indoor, what’s outdoor, who’s vaccinated, who’s not? Is that a legitimate vaccination thing? ... Are we going to have to now compare it to a driver’s license to make sure?”

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