Hospitality, food service workers among those in Phase 1C of vaccination plan

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Large groups, like hospitality and food service, are included in 1C.

Among them, we’re told hotel, restaurant, and bar workers are first in line.

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UNITE HERE Local 5 represents hundreds of hospitality and food service workers. When it comes to vaccinations, the union tells us they’re trying to get the workforce in the hotel industry prepared as they anticipate an increase in tourism. The Health Department says it would like to vaccinate as quickly as possible hotel employees, restaurant workers, and those who work at bars.

“Our phones in the office have been ringing off the hook,” said Eric Gill of Local 5. “You know, since word came in that people are eligible.”

He tells us while hotels have reopened, many workers are currently on furlough. They want to make sure everyone gets a chance to get vaccinated.

“I think that’s where we’re kind of doing the work,” said Gill. “Most of the hotels, I think, have sent in lists of their active employees. You know, we’re looking further down the list for that since once it gets busy, they’re going to call people back.”

The state says hotel workers are part of Phase 1C regardless of whether they’ve been on furlough. They can also register themselves directly with vaccination providers. Or register through their employer who will be providing a list of names to the Health Department, which is then forwarded to vaccination providers for scheduling.

“Many of the hotels have just kind of started off on their own,” said Gill. “There’s been some confusion about who should get it, and when, and so on, and so forth.”

To help with that the Hawaii Tourism Authority says it will have an instructional webinar for hotel general managers and labor unions.

“The whole intent is for everybody to be on the same page in terms of the information that will have to come out of each hotel uniformly, and transferred, and communicated to DOH,” said President and CEO John De Fries.

The Hawai’i Lodging & Tourism Association says:
It “has been working closely with HTA and the State Department of Health to prioritize local tourism industry workers in the State’s vaccination schedule. We are extremely pleased that these frontline employees can begin the vaccination process beginning today thanks to DOH. Currently, our hotel, restaurant, and bar workers are first in line, but we are optimistic that the rest of our industry partners will be folded into the mix in due time.
While there were several local resorts that offered to host vaccination pods on their properties, it has been determined that hospitality workers will be utilizing the State’s vaccination pods which are well-equipped to handle the influx of individuals who will be seeking out vaccinations.”

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