Honolulu police have found no violations while spot checking Oahu restaurants — particularly in Chinatown and Kakaako — for compliance with new COVID-19 vaccination and testing rules for employees and customers that went into effect on Monday, interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade K. Vanic told the Honolulu Police Commission Wednesday.
And there have been no calls to 911 reporting violations of the Safe Access O’ahu program that’s scheduled to be in effect for another 56 days.
“As far as calls to 911, I’m not aware of any calls from anyone coming in reporting any type of violations,” Vanic said.
Officers have been conducting random checks “in various parts of the island” and especially in Kakaako and Chinatown, he said.
“We have not found any restaurants … that were not in compliance,” Vanic said. “So what that tells me is that people are very cognizant of what the rules are and they do very much so want to adhere and comply, which is a good thing.”
Violations carry a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.
HPD’s communications office on Wednesday was not aware of any citations that may have been issued, spokeswoman Michelle Yu told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Officials with the Honolulu Liquor Commission, which regulates businesses that serve alcohol, also told the Star-Advertiser that they have received no complaints of violations of Safe Access O’ahu.
Some Oahu businesses have nevertheless announced their intentions to defy Safe Access O’ahu, such as the Crossfit Kailua gym that encouraged customers to continue visiting its studio on its Instagram account regardless of their vaccination status.
“Crossfit Kailua will never discriminate against any member, coach, group or individuals on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, vaccinated or unvaccinated,” Crossfit Kailua wrote on Monday when Safe Access O’ahu began. “Just sayin’, all are welcome here, always!”
Doner Shack restaurant on Pauahi Street downtown also announced it would not comply.
But officers found the restaurant to be in compliance, city spokesman Tim Sakahara said.
Neither Crossfit Kailua nor Doner Shack responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Since the Safe Access O’ahu program was announced on Aug. 30, the city’s call center as of Wednesday morning received “more than 1,344 inquiries, of which all but 100 were from people or business owners seeking clarification or asking a question to ensure they are compliant with the program. There were 18 people who said the program was not strict enough and 82 said it was too strict,” Sakahara wrote in an email to the Star-Advertiser.
In a statement, Mayor Rick Blangiardi said:
“The program is designed to encourage vaccination, help prevent the spread of disease, and provide businesses the opportunity to continue operations without a shutdown. We have also heard from businesses who are not required to operate under the program, but have implemented the guidelines voluntarily, which is encouraged. We will continue to monitor the program as we go through the first week of its implementation.”
The Safe Access O‘ahu mandate requires new procedures, including:
>> “A written record that describes how you will verify proof of vaccination or proof of negative COVID-19 tests for staff and patrons. The record must be on site and available for inspection.”
>> A requirement that each business “must post an 8.5 x 11 inch (minimum) sign in a conspicuous place that is viewable by prospective patrons prior to entering the establishment. The sign must alert patrons to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement in this Order … and inform them that employees and patrons are required to show proof of full vaccination or satisfy one of the exceptions in this Order.”
More information is available at oneoahu.org/safe-access-oahu.
Blangiardi’s Safe Access O‘ahu mandate applies to restaurants and bars, “bowling alleys, arcades, pool/billiard halls, movie theaters, museums, other recreational game or entertainment centers, and the indoor portions of botanical gardens, aquariums, zoos, sea life attractions, commercial recreational boating, public and private commercial pools, shooting/archery ranges, and other commercial attractions (cultural attractions, go kart, mini golf); Indoor ‘gym and fitness facility operations’ and ‘activities and group physical activity classes’ (including) standalone and hotel gyms and fitness centers, yoga/Pilates/barre/dance studios, boxing/kickboxing gyms, fitness boot camps, indoor pools, and other similar facilities.”