Hawaii businesses prepare for launch of Safe Access Oahu on Monday


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Starting Monday, Sept. 13, only those who have their COVID vaccine or show proof of a negative COVID test can get into gyms, restaurants and movie theaters.

Many local businesses are preparing for the launch of Safe Access Oahu. At Honolulu Fitness Center, it is getting ahead of the game by already asking members for their proof of vaccination a few days early.

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“We check their vaccine card when they come in only once and after that, we incorporate it into our system to make it easier to see who has the vaccine card or not,” said Nestor Calucag, owner of Honolulu Fitness Center.

The Surfing Pig has spent weeks training its employees to recognize valid coronavirus vaccine cards. The restaurant said it is ready to go, but there is one thing it is worried about.

“We’re more concerned with customers that may be angry. and we don’t want to play the policeman, but the direction is that one of the managers has to be close to the front door so that our employees don’t have to deal with it,” said Stan Glander, president of Kono’s Restaurants.

Under Safe Access Oahu, restaurants will also be required to follow a 10 p.m. cut off for alcohol. Not following the rules will come with a hefty price for businesses that includes a $5,000 fine and/or one year in prison. Honolulu police said officers will respond to any reports.

“It’s going to work where the patrons and people who are observing will notice that a restaurant is not complying, and there is a number that people can call to inform of non-compliance,” said Sheryl Matsuoka, Hawaii Restaurant Association executive director.

The only vaccine exemption will be a negative COVID test taken 48 hours prior for customers and weekly testing for employees.

“Now we’re just adding an extra step, and we’re making sure that our customers are being safe, not just our staff, but our customers are being safe,” said Glander.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

For more information about Safe Access Oahu, click here.

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