Governor’s sweeping vaccine-or-test order to impact thousands of state contractors

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:41 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of workers in Hawaii, including many who probably don’t expect it, will have to show proof of vaccination starting Monday to avoid weekly COVID tests.

On Thursday, the governor issued an executive order requiring vaccination or testing for all state contractors. Now companies are scrambling to meet the new rules.

One of the biggest impacts is at airports across the state.

Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Jai Cunningham listed all those impacted:

“Everyone from a pilot of a passenger plane to flight attendants, to folks who may work at the gates, to folks who may work at the gift shop, restaurants, Burger King, bartenders, all the way to curbside, so the luggage services that are used, taxis that are used, Ubers that are used.”

Cunningham said put simply, thousands of private sector workers who step onto airport property, whether it be contractors, vendors or permit holders, will have to be vaccinated or test weekly.

Many of those people haven’t been informed, yet.

And the order takes effect Monday for most state contractors.

“Obviously everybody is not going to be ready,” said state Comptroller Curt Otaguro. “It’s unfortunate and we apologize again but decisions have to be made in a timely manner to move forward and there will be exemptions to be reviewed and approved. The executive order does provide for that.”

Otaguro says most contractors he’s talked to support the mandate to protect their workers.

However, some are resistant.

Also on Thursday, President Biden announced that any company with more than 100 employees must have a vaccinate or test requirement.

Many hotel operators on Maui welcomed the president’s decision.

“The whole hotel industry was working towards that. They were promoting vaccinations,” said Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Director Rod Antone.

The President hasn’t set a deadline yet.

But for many companies in Hawaii, the mandates will start Monday.

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