Hawaii to Ease Capacity Requirements for Businesses That Require COVID-19 Vaccination, Testing

It may have just gotten easier to get a dinner reservation in Maui or Honolulu.

Just in time for the holidays, Hawaii is lifting capacity restrictions at bars and restaurants that require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results to enter.

The order specifically applie to Honolulu and Maui counties where patrons are required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test for entry to bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues.

Outside seating is seen empty at a restaurant at The Wharf in Lahaina, Maui County, Hawaii
Mia Shimabuku/Getty Images

"As you all have heard for the last several months, the vaccination is the most widespread and important mitigation measure during this pandemic," Hawaii Governor David Ige said at a news conference according to the Associated Press.

Kauai and Hawaii Island do not have a vaccination or test requirement so therefore will still uphold a capacity restriction.

The change is set to go into effect Nov. 12. Social distancing requirements, as well as an indoor face mask requirement, will remain in effect indoors across the state. Outdoors, however, Ige cleared the way for restaurant and bar patrons to remove their face masks and sit within six feet of other parties.

Just over 71% of the state's population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the latest available data from the state health department. In Hawaii and Kauai that number stands at 67%.

The state also plans to make it easier for international travelers to land in Hawaii starting November 8. Foreign passport holders traveling to Hawaii will need to provide both proof of vaccination and of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their departure to the state.

U.S. citizens traveling to Hawaii from abroad will be able to provide either proof of Covid vaccination or of a negative Covid-19 test taken within a day of their departure to Hawaii.

Officials in Hawaii also said they will accept a broader array of vaccinations. In addition to those authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Hawaii will accept vaccines approved by the World Health Organization.

"As more and more people are vaccinated, we are moving to ease pandemic mitigation measures – including travel restrictions — in a way that ensures the health and safety of our communities," Ige said in a statement.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a travel writer who loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

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