HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a new order on Thursday, July 8, that implemented Tier 5 of the City’s COVID-19 recovery framework. This increased social gatherings group sizes to 25 people indoors and 75 outdoors. 

Restaurants and bars on Oahu may now choose to operate under the “social establishments” category, which exempts them from the 6-foot distance requirement if customers show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result received within 48 hours. If not, restaurants have to stick to the 6-foot rule and 75% capacity.

This Order is effective through September 5 unless terminated or superseded by another order or operation of law. Click here to read the full list of new guidelines relating to Tier 5.

Some restaurants said it could create issues for people working the front of the restaurant.

“We’re very, very concerned and want to make this a very positive experience coming in and not have to stress our hostess and hosts at the front door with playing I guess you’d call it traffic cop,” explained Rick Nakashima, partner of Gyu Kaku and Ruby Tuesday’s.

The Hawaii Restaurant Association said some restaurants will benefit from allowing all vaccinated or tested people indoors.

“You might have people out there who are afraid to go back to restaurants, but if their favorite restaurant says we’re going to be one of these restaurants [that only allow vaccinated, tested people inside], all of a sudden, they’re busier than they ever could imagine,” said Hawaii Restaurant Association chair Greg Maples.

Vaccine cards can be original, photocopied or in digital form and restaurants much check to make sure all negative COVID-19 tests are either antigen or molecular.

Many restaurants said labor is an issue too and will probably keep things the same but are happy to know the mayor and governor are giving them an option.

“We’re grateful, because we think that it’s showing the restaurant industry, what we’ve known all along, and that is the governor and the mayor are really trying to do what’s right for us,” Maples added.

Contact information will still be collected at all restaurants and bars regardless of what option they choose.

The new social establishment rule face coverings are still required for all employees and customers must wear them at all times except when eating or drinking Under Tier 5.