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Long list of Oahu businesses, state facilities now require proof of vaccination or COVID test

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:56 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 1:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Headed out the door? Bring your vaccine card.

As part of a broad government push to bolster vaccination rates and address an ongoing surge in COVID infections, a long list of Oahu businesses and state facilities are now required to ask patrons for proof that they’re vaccinated or have recently tested negative for COVID.

The city’s Safe Access Oahu program went into effect Monday, putting in place the vaccine-or-test mandate for customers at restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, attractions and other venues. Those showing proof of vaccination can bring their actual vaccine card, a photo of it, or use the state’s SMART Health Card app. You can also show proof of a negative COVID test taken within the last 48 hours.

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Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director for the Hawaii Restaurant Association, said the new program will require lots of patience ― and education. “You’ll see a lot of managers at the front desk, you’ll see a lot of personnel so that we don’t have long lines at the front,” she said.

“They’ll be explaining that today is the first day, please have patience.”

Employees at eateries will also have to prove they have been vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

The restaurant association says this is an alternative they’ll take rather than shutting down.

Meanwhile, gyms said they expect some people will pause or quit their memberships, while others might come back because they feel safer.

“It has gone smoothly so far,” said Barnaby Smith, the district manager for 24 Hour Fitness. “We started verifying documents on Friday, and folks were prepared.”

Also Monday, Hawaii is launching its vaccine-or-test mandate for most state facilities.

Under an executive order issued by the governor, anyone visiting state property and all state contractors will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

The order includes all public schools, libraries and the state Capitol building.

There are some exceptions from people visiting these properties.

Anyone under 12 is exempt because they can’t get vaccinated, as well as people making deliveries, or those who will be on a state property for less than 10 minutes.

Public school students and some facilities — correctional centers, courts, beach parks or other outdoor recreational areas — are also exempt.

The state Department of Transportation said the order does extend, however, to a long list of airport workers ― including pilots, flight attendants, gate workers, gift shop employees, anyone at airport restaurants and bars. It also means contractors, vendors or permit holders, like Uber drivers.

It even affects curbside and luggage services. But not if you’re just dropping off or picking up, or anyone who will be at the airport for less than 10 minutes.

Airport passengers are exempt from the rule.

There are still questions on staffing and enforcement, but the public is urged to allow some extra time when going to any state facility as there may be some confusion in the first few days of the mandate.

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