Bars face strict COVID-19 protocol enforcement


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the City and County will crackdown on specific bars that do not comply with COVID-19 safety protocol, instead of placing a closure order on the entire industry.

A 24 hour shut down is part of the stricter penalties imposed by Caldwell to bars that continue to not follow emergency orders.

“Not all bars, not a huge number that was not practicing the protocols,” Caldwell said. “No face covering, no physical distancing, dancing close together and large groups of people, and that was very troubling.”

The Honolulu Police Department said they have yet to issue citations to bars.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission is also inspecting bars randomly, the commission also responds to complaints sent to its 24 hour hotline.

Liquor commission inspectors have issued about 12 violation notices since bars reopened and approximately 10 warnings. They have not shut down an establishment.

Bars have not been linked to a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii. Caldwell said these tougher actions are for prevention.

Caldwell said, “We know the virus is spreading in the community, and we know from cases on the continent and other parts of the world that that is one way to create a super spreading event.”

Caldwell said he would meet with a medical panel on Thursday to talk best practices inside gyms. This comes as two gyms on Oahu were connected to a cluster of COVID-19 cases. The Hawaii State Department of Health said those cases no longer pose a risk.

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