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Gov. David Ige says contractors, visitors to state facilities must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test result

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Gov. David Ige on Thursday issued an executive order requiring government contractors and visitors at state facilities to show proof they’ve been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.

The order takes effect Monday.

State contractors will be required to identify all employees who enter state facilities and attest to their vaccination status. For unvaccinated employees, contractors must provide weekly verification that they have undergone testing at least once or twice a week, as determined by the department or agency for which they work, and that the results were negative.

Contractors are also required to wear a mask at all times and physically distance while on state property.

The executive order also applies to visitors entering state facilities. Exempt from the requirement are people visiting beaches and other state properties outdoors; people under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for the vaccines; and students attending Department of Education public and charter schools.

Inmates at state correctional facilities and patients at state hospitals, as well as residents of state housing projects, are also exempt, as are travelers entering airports and individuals making deliveries at a state facility who leave within 10 minutes.

Ige’s order says the requirements are necessary to ensure the “safety of the government workforce during this ongoing escalation in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths resulting from the delta variant.”

The state Department of Health reported seven new coronavirus-related deaths and 429 new confirmed and probable infections statewide Thursday, bringing the state’s totals since the start of the pandemic to 633 fatalities and 69,573 cases. There have been 24 deaths reported within the past seven days, half of whom were under the age of 60.

While Hawaii’s case counts remain high, there are signs that cases are plateauing and hospitalizations are stabilizing. There were 398 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, according to state data, down 10% from the day before. There also have been modest declines in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units and on ventilators.

Ige’s latest vaccine and testing mandate for state contractors comes amid a wave of vaccine requirements aimed at both the public and private sectors. On Aug. 5, Ige signed an executive order requiring all state and county workers to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. That effort has been largely successful, with the vast majority of government workers complying with the order.

As of last month 87.6% of state workers were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 92.4% had received at least one shot.

An increasing number of private-sector employers in Hawaii, including hospitals and hotels, also have been implementing their own vaccine requirements for workers. And beginning Monday, Oahu residents will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter restaurants and bars, indoor gyms and entertainment venues such as bowling alleys, arcades and zoos.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden also announced sweeping federal vaccine requirements that affect as many as 100 million Americans. The rules require all employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests. Employees of health facilities receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid also must be vaccinated.

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