Honolulu prepares for ‘Safe Access Oahu’ rollout

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City is preparing for the rollout of “Safe Access Oahu.”

Starting on Monday, Sept. 13, workers and customers at gyms, restaurants and movie theaters will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test.

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The City’s Office of Economic Revitalization hosted an informational webinar where many questions were asked by business owners and community members. People wanted to know things from the best ways to verify vaccination documents to what to do if an employee refuses to comply with the new rules.

Restaurants like Doraku are preparing to request COVID vaccination proof from customers and employees.

“We’re definitely trying to work towards getting all of our employees vaccinated, we are currently at 90%,” Doraku assistant general manager Kasen Kunishima Takushi said. “We’re also going through the guidelines with them on how to properly proceed. We want to be safe, we want to make the customers feel safe.”

Under Safe Access Oahu, certain businesses will be required to create their own guidelines to verify the vaccination status of employees and customers.

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

However, restaurants operating without dine-in seating are not required to follow safe access rules.

“So if you are only a take-out restaurant, you don’t have to do it for customers or staff,” The Office of Economic Revitalization executive director Amy Asselbaye said. “We just confirmed this with corporate counsel.”

COVID testing is free every day at the Honolulu airport for Oahu residents, Asselbaye said, more testing sites are likely to coming soon. She also said the City is working on additional programs to support businesses with expenses connected to COVID mitigation, but for now they advise to keep track of the costs.

Attorney Jeff Harris also participated in the City’s webinar. He said the cost for testing and time it takes employees to get tested are to be covered by employers. He also recommended employers to be clear about their guidelines.

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“The employer will have to pay the cost of the test and will have to pay for the time,” Harris said. “Tell employees that aren’t going to comply with your mandate, the vaccine policy that you are going to put them on leave, and they are going to have the ability to get reinstated once they get vaccinated unless until you find somebody to replace them.”

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