UPDATE: 2:00 p.m.
Customers at restaurants, gyms and other businesses will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 48-hours to enter the establishments beginning Sept. 13.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced the Safe Access Oahu program today, in hopes that it would decrease the high levels of COVID-19 infection on the island.
The program will be in affect for 60 days as data iscollected, and city officials will evaluate its effectiveness.
“I really want this to come off as really more common sense and appeal in what we’re trying to do to combat this Delta variant and where we are with case counts, and really for the sake of the community,” Blangiardi said.
“This is our effort to help with community spread, to take the best step possible that we can in places where people like to go.”
Blangiardi also said the city is implementing a 10 p.m. cut-off for the sale of liquor at establishments that sell alcohol for “on-premises consumption.” The previous cut off was midnight.
Officials said that the liquor restriction is needed to cut down on late-night trauma cases related to drunk driving.
The Safe Access Oahu program does not include grocery stores or farmers markets, but does include establishments such as museums and movie theaters.
Workers at the effected establishments who are not vaccinated will also be required to test weekly.
After the 60-day period, if infection counts do not improve or many businesses are not compliant, Blangiardi said the island will move to mandatory vaccinations.
Hawaii Restaurant Association President Greg Maples encouraged people to still go to restaurants, many of which are still recovering from financial hardship over the last year and a half.
“Don’t stop eating at your neighborhood restaurants. If you’re not vaccinated, and you’re not going to get vaccinated, go get takeout,” he said. “We need you, we need the business.”
Blangiardi did not support any form of a lockdown for the island although Lt. Gov. Josh Green proposed a 72-hour stay-at-home order during the Labor Day weekend to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In order to enter an establishment — not just restaurants, bars and gyms — patrons will have to show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was taken within 48 hours, Mayor Blangiardi announced today.
The requirement will be effective Sept. 13, Blangiardi said.
Regarding enforcement of the requirement, “businesses that don’t comply are going to probably be fined and then ultimately, if we get a lot of problems, we’ll shut them down,” Blangiardi said.
However, when asked to comment on Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s proposed 72-hour lockdown for the Labor Day weekend, Blangiardi said “I am not for a lockdown.”
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is holding a press conference at Mission Memorial Auditorium to discuss the new Safe Access Oahu program.
Speakers include Greg Maples, Hawaii Restaurant Association; Dr. James Ireland, Honolulu Emergency Services Department; and Amy Asselbaye, Office of Economic Revitalization.
Watch the livestream video above.
Editor’s Note: This story is developing and will be updated as soon as more information becomes available. Bookmark this page and check back to watch the livestream.