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Proof of Vaccination Requirements in Place for Maui Restaurants, Bars, Gyms

People getting the COVID-19 vaccine will receive a special vaccine card to record their doses, Operation Warp Speed officials say. Here, a Department of Health and Human Services employee holds a sample card.
EJ Hersom
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination record card.

Maui restaurants, bars and other businesses now require proof of vaccination from indoor customers as part of the county's new "Safer Outside" program.

Starting Wednesday, there were also new limits on private gathering sizes — five people indoors and 10 outdoors.

The county said bars, restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and other “high risk” businesses can operate at 50% capacity indoors if all customers over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated patrons can eat in outdoor spaces or get take-out.

There is no option to present a negative COVID-19 test to patronize those businesses indoors, unlike the program on Oʻahu.

While Maui customers do not have the testing option, employees can provide proof of a negative test every seven days in lieu of presenting proof of vaccination.

Rod Antone with the Maui Lodging and Tourism Association recently spoke to HPR's The Conversation about how companies are working to make sure they don't run afoul of the rules.

"Nobody wants to be in violation or to be penalized," Antone said. "I do know a lot of our members are planning to employ a rolling vaccination, testing schedule where you have a group of employees go out, get vaccinated, get tested. And then there's like some sort of rest period in case there's a reaction to the shots."

Some businesses made changes to accommodate more people outside, The Maui News reported. The owners of several restaurants and bars closed indoor seating entirely.

Stillwell Bakery & Cafe transitioned to outdoor seating early in the pandemic and is now increasing its outdoor capacity.

“We’re trying to find that balance between making sure our community is safe but also taken care of and fed,” said Matt Portilla, the cafe's managing partner.

Patrons had mixed reactions.

“I have heart and kidney problems," said Maui resident Taka Harada, who was eating at a local restaurant. “So I’m more comfortable now.”

But patron Darren Yamamoto doesn’t feel any safer.

“I think it’s more virtue signaling. I think it makes people feel good," he said. "Why can’t we all just make our own decisions?”

Read Maui County's complete COVID-19 guidelines below or click here.

Sophia McCullough is a digital news producer. Contact her at news@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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