Vaccination, Recent Negative COVID-19 Test Rules in Place on Oʻahu
Proof of vaccination or a negative test was required as of Monday to visit most Oʻahu businesses and state facilities.
The move comes as the delta variant has caused COVID-19 case counts to rise dramatically across the state in the last few weeks.
Under Honolulu’s Safe Access Oʻahu program, patrons at businesses like restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and other establishments will need to show their vaccine card, a photo of it, or use the state's SMART Health Card and Safe Travels program. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you can also produce a negative COVD-19 test taken within the last 48 hours.
Honolulu joins other cities such as New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and the U.S. territory of Guam that have implemented similar requirements.
Employees at those businesses will also have to prove they are vaccinated or undergo testing weekly.
“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,” said Sheryl Matsuoka, the executive director for the Hawaii Restaurant Association. “They’ll be explaining that today is the first day, please have patience.”
The association says this is an alternative they will take instead of shutting down. They encourage people to get takeout if they don’t meet the other requirements.
Gyms are expecting some members to either cancel or pause memberships.
“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.
Maui County will start a similar program Wednesday, though patrons won’t have the option to show a negative test. Unvaccinated diners may dine outside or order take-out.
Hawaiʻi has also begun a vaccine mandate for most state facilities. It also requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from most facility visitors and from all state contractors.
The new rules also apply to everyone at airports, from pilots to gate workers to gift shop employees, the state Department of Transportation said.
Honolulu opened a new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site Monday at the Blaisdell Arena. Both the Binax Now rapid antigen test with results available in one hour, and the PCR nasal swab with results available within 24 to 48 hours are available, the city said.
"We want people to be able to get a test if needed, but I strongly urge people to get vaccinated instead of continually opting to take a test just to go to work or patronize businesses," Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said.
Patients are required to register online and walk-ins will not be permitted. The site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 cases for the entire state is 567, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard.