Safe Access Oahu testing has some unvaccinated visitors wishing they’d gotten the shot

The new 'Safe Access Oahu' program has some tourists wishing they had gotten the shots.
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Visitor Kyle Austin said he is the only unvaccinated member of his group that traveled here from the mainland.

And he’s now realizing that coming without getting the jab wasn’t a great idea.

“I figured I’m going to have to be tested every two days,” he said. “Otherwise, am I not going to go to the restaurants and bars?”

The city’s new Safe Access Oahu program requires customers at restaurants, bars, gyms and indoor attractions to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within the last 48 hours.

For thousands of unvaccinated visitors, the program means lots of testing and additional costs.

“I’ve spent more on the tests than I did on my plane ticket here ― honest to God,” said Christina, a visitor from Ohio.

Florida residents Lindsey Donato and Liana Pryor said that because of the rules they skipped plans to go to a restaurant Monday and relied on room service.

“I could have (gone to a restaurant) yesterday because I’m vaccinated. But she is not vaccinated so for her it was a little bit awkward because she has been tested with 72 hours but not 48,” said Donato.

Added Pryor: “I kind of felt like a leper or something like that. I’m healthy what’s wrong here?”

But vaccinated visitors say the hassle is necessary.

“It’s a little inconvenient but it makes you feel safe. It really does because there’s the contact tracing,” said Hector Rodriguez, of Orlando, Fla.

“You gotta take a few extra steps but I guess ... an ounce of prevention is more than a pound of cure.”

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