HONOLULU (KHON2) — Folks who are fully vaccinated in the United States may enter Hawaii without pre-travel testing or quarantine starting Thursday, July 8. Lt. Gov. Josh Green is hopeful this will streamline the process at the airports.
“They anticipate a lot of front-end clearance. The airlines have been doing a good job by clearing people with wristbands. We anticipate shorter lines once people start using their vaccination cards because otherwise, it will be a little clunky,” said Green.
Greg Maples of the Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) told KHON2 they think this means there is going to be more people who come to Hawaii because it is easier to get here.
“And that’s just going to cause even more trouble for restaurants, because right now, and let me be very clear, we have three big problems for the restaurants right now: capacity, staffing, supply chain,” said Maples.
The state says the size of social gatherings will be expanded to 25 people indoors and 75 outdoors. Restaurants will also be able to increase capacity to 75% — all of which will begin on Thursday.
“The 75% capacity, really without a change in the 6-feet social distancing won’t do much for restaurants,” said Maples. “For example at our restaurant, we’re still at 50% capacity because we have to maintain six feet.”
Capacity restrictions and staffing issues have plagued Scratch Kitchen and Meatery.
“They’re asking for minimum plus bonus plus tips and all that kind of stuff,” said General Manager Richard Wong. “They want more and whoever is going to give them the best deal is who is going to get to be able to hire people.”
Retailers are also affected by the 6-foot social distancing guideline.
“So you have long lines outside. Nobody likes to stand out in the hot sun,” said Tina Yamaki of Retail Merchants of Hawaii. “So we are seeing, you know, businesses, transactions being lost that way too. So if the distance is shorter, we can have more people in our stores.”