The Hawaiian island of Oahu announced it would drop its “Safe Access Oahu” program on March 6, ending numerous restrictions on restaurants, bars and gyms.
Under the Safe Access Oahu program, customers were required to present proof of vaccination or a negative test before entering these businesses, with establishments required by law to verify and enforce the documents.
These requirements will be removed in two weeks, allowing restaurants and other establishments to operate as they did before the pandemic.
The only exception is that the inner mask mandate will remain in place.
As per the mandate, patrons must wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking; however, it is rarely applied in this manner.
Typically, customers wear their masks while walking to their table and then can take them off. Employees and servers, however, must be masked at all times.
As of this writing, Hawaii is the only state with an indoor mask mandate. The state emergency proclamation runs until March 25, although the governor can drop the mandate at any time.
According to local media, most businesses are relieved that Safe Access Oahu’s vaccination requirements are going away, although it has been reported that some businesses may choose to apply their own rules and still require proof of vaccinations to enter. Be sure to check with individual companies for their policies when visiting.
According to the Hawaii Department of Health, COVID-19 cases dropped 64% between Feb. 5 and Feb. 18. As of this writing, over 75% of Hawaii residents have been vaccinated.
Although vaccination and testing requirements change on individual islands in terms of day-to-day life, the Safe Travels Hawaii program still requires proof of vaccination or a negative test when flying into the state in order to avoid quarantine.