Honolulu Mayor Announces Safe Access O‘ahu Program to Enter Establishments
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced a new program on Monday called “Safe Access O‘ahu” as part of a plan “to aggressively counteract” the surge of COVID-19 cases in the community. This program was developed in collaboration with local business and restaurant leaders, according to Mayor Blangiardi.
The program is specifically for O‘ahu and does not impact neighbor islands.
The Safe Access O‘ahu program requires restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, museums, arcades and other similar establishments, to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to operate. Customers will also have to provide proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter the business.
The goal, city officials say, is to allow these businesses the ability to operate more safely and instill confidence in the general public.
The following exceptions apply:
- Employees, full or part-time, interns, volunteers, and contractors, who show weekly proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (molecular or antigen)
- Patrons or customers with proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (molecular or antigen) taken with 48 hours of entry into the covered premises, and identification bearing the same identifying information as the proof of a negative test result
- Children under 12 years old
- Individuals entering and remaining for 15 minutes or less per 24 hour period
- A restaurant that operates solely as take-out, delivery or a food truck
“Given the continued high infection rates on O‘ahu and the strain to our hospital and emergency medical systems, it is my belief we must take additional steps to reduce the spread of the virus,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “We want to create safe spaces for employees and customers so they can feel confident the people around them are either vaccinated or have a negative test. We will continue to evaluate the program over the next 60 days and if the high infection rate or hospitalization rates have not improved, we will adjust the program to require mandatory vaccinations.”
“We recognize with the record case counts, something needs to be done. Restaurants have been and continue to be under strict guidelines since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Greg Maples, Chair of the Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association. “The Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association supports today’s announcement because it’s an opportunity for restaurants to demonstrate the highest standard of safety while supporting the community to return to normalcy during meal times. We look forward to collaborating with Mayor Blangiardi and are very grateful that he has been so open to listening to the business community including the dedicated members and owners from the restaurant industry.”
“While we look forward to a day where all restrictions on business can be lifted, we know the situation in our community and specifically in our hospitals is becoming more dire by the day,” said President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi. “We want to do everything we can to avoid another shutdown, and while businesses don’t want more government mandates, we need to work together to increase vaccinations. Requiring vaccines or a negative test to enter establishments on Oʻahu is an important step that will help keep our businesses and employees safe, and will correspond to an increase in vaccination rates while we rebuild our economy.”
Employers are expected to comply with all applicable state and federal laws in implementing this program on their workforce. The business owner or authorized agent of each covered entity must complete an attestation form confirming they are in compliance with the program. The form and additional information will be available at https://www.oneoahu.org/safe-
Businesses subject to the program will be required to post a notice at the entrance in a conspicuous place in full view of all who enter. The business must verify customers are vaccinated or have a negative result from an FDA approved test within 48 hours of entering the establishment.
Proof of vaccination may include showing a hard copy of your state approved vaccination card, a photograph/digital copy of the vaccination card or showing compliance with a Hawaiʻi state-approved digital/smart device application confirming full vaccination status.
To stay consistent, the City is expanding its mandatory employee vaccination program to include all City vendors, consultants or contractors that have or will have any of their employees physically present, in excess of 15 minutes per 24-hour day, at any City facility. All City vendors, consultants or contractors must complete a form attesting they are fully vaccinated or exempted consistent with City requirements.
In addition, the City is implementing a 10 p.m. cut off for the sale, service and consumption of liquor at establishments that sell liquor for on premises consumption. The previous cut off was midnight.
“In the last three months, 20% of the trauma patients in our emergency rooms were related to alcohol,” said Jill Hoggard Green, PhD, RN, President and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems. “The majority of the alcohol related trauma patients were seen in the overnight hours. Moving the last call for on premise alcohol sales to an earlier hour is justified during these extremely difficult times. Reducing the amount of drunk driving trauma patients would make a huge positive difference and will help keep people safer,” said Green.
The Safe Access O‘ahu program is scheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.
Mayor Blangiardi’s updated Emergency Order 2021-10 and 2021-11 is available online at: http://www.honolulu.gov/mayor/proclamations-orders-and-rules.html
In response to Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s announcement of the Safe Access O‘ahu program that requires employees and patrons of indoor establishments to be vaccinated or tested regularly, House Speaker Scott K. Saiki said:
“I commend Mayor Blangiardi for implementing a Safe Access Oʻahu program. I know that it was a difficult and complicated decision. The Mayor is being a leader and his decision will reduce COVID infections and avoid a complete statewide shutdown.”