Honolulu Will Require Proof of Vaccination or Negative COVID Test at Restaurants
Honolulu implemented a vaccine or testing requirement for restaurants, bars, and other indoor establishments on Monday in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the city's mayor announced.
Going forward, anyone who wants to eat in a restaurant, go to a bar or enter a movie theater, gym, or museum will have to show proof they were fully vaccinated at least two weeks before, or show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours, according to the Safe Access O'ahu site.
Customers can show their vaccination card, a photo of their vaccination card, or a state-approved digital app like the Safe Travels program as proof of vaccination.
Children under 12 years old are exempt from the order.
"Given the continued high #COVID19 rates on O'ahu and the strain to our hospital and emergency medical systems, we want to create safe spaces for employees and customers so they can feel confident the people around them are safe," Honolulu's Mayor Rick Blangiardi tweeted, adding the program was "part of our collective efforts to aggressively counteract the surge of #COVID19 cases in our community."
In addition to customers, employees of these businesses will be required to either be fully vaccinated or get tested each week.
The Safe Access Oahu program will be in place for 60 days, KHON2 reported.
"We don't want a lockdown, but we need to all work together to ensure we don't have to do that, and this is a good, safe way to get it done," Blangiardi told the station, adding "Businesses that don't comply are gonna probably be fined and ultimately, if we get a lot of problems, we will shut them down. This is in the name of public health."
The vaccination and testing rules come weeks after Hawaii placed capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gatherings, reducing indoor capacity to 50%. It also comes as Hawaii's Gov. David Ige has asked travelers to "restrict and curtail travel" to the islands amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Currently, Honolulu County is seeing an 8.7% test positivity rate over a 7-day moving average, according to Hawaii's COVID-19 website.
Honolulu isn't alone in imposing vaccine or testing requirements for indoor establishments. Earlier this month, New York City and San Francisco started requiring proof of vaccination to eat indoors, while New Orleans requires proof of at least one dose of a vaccine or a negative test.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.