comscore Kokua Line: Do COVID-19 rules apply to private clubhouses? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Do COVID-19 rules apply to private clubhouses?

Question: We live in a small, 120-home gated community with a clubhouse that is lightly used by residents to play racquetball (we have two indoor courts) or pingpong. Being a private facility, are we considered a “covered entity” and thus subject to the new vaccine or negative COVID-19 testing requirements of Safe Access O‘ahu?

Answer: Not if the clubhouse allows only residents, according to the city. However, if nonresident guests are allowed, then the rules would apply to both residents and guests, it says.

We’ve received numerous similar questions from readers asking about recreational areas at apartment complexes, break rooms for celebrations at workplaces, and other events and facilities. Here are additional details, from city spokesman Tim Sakahara, who confirmed or expanded upon information available at

>> Safe Access O‘ahu, which requires “covered entities” to screen people for COVID-19, does not apply to private residential buildings whose dining, entertainment and exercise/fitness settings are available only to residents. However, if those settings are open to guests, then the rules would apply, to residents and to guests.

>> Likewise, the program does not apply to offices if the office’s dining, entertainment or fitness areas are available only to office staff; “non-staff cannot be allowed on premises,” the website says.

>> Senior centers and community centers that provide social services to the public are exempt from Safe Access O‘ahu. Some readers interpreted that to mean that recreational centers at their apartment buildings are exempt, but that is not correct, according to the city. As explained in the initial answer, those private facilities are exempt only if they exclude guests and solely serve residents, the city says.

>> Pre-K through grade 12 schools are exempt, as are child-care programs.

Q: I heard that safety checks for car registration had a two-month grace period due to COVID-19; is that still the case?

A: No. Pandemic-era extensions on motor vehicle safety checks ended Jan. 1. The state Department of Transportation says that safety inspection stations have been open since May 15, 2020, after closing for less than two months at the beginning of the pandemic.

Q: I had been looking forward to resuming classes through Parks and Rec. Did delta change all that?

A: Honolulu County’s Department of Parks and Recreation says it’s offering a “hybrid catalog” of classes this fall, with some available in-person and others online. You can see what’s available at

Q: Is it true that locals can go to Hanauma Bay without a reservation now?

A: Yes, at certain times. “Hawaii residents with valid identification may access the nature preserve without a reservation from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. This does not apply to military members unless they have local identification,” according to the marine preserve’s website.

Q: Knowing that obesity is an underlying condition for bad outcomes for COVID- 19, I keep my ear out for the latest news. I thought I heard that Hawaii had one of the worst obesity rates. Can that be true?

A: Perhaps you heard wrong. Less than 25% of Hawaii adults report being obese, among the lowest percentages in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only Colorado, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia also are in that range, according to the U.S. obesity map, which you can see at


I am tired of people saying they are “doing their own research” about COVID-19. They are not doing research! At best they skim pages on the internet (without clicking on a footnote that might take them to a primary source). At worst they fall for disinformation on social media — and then spread it. Do they even know what research is? I doubt it. — Fed-up reader

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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