HONOLULU (KHON2) – Restaurants are struggling to stay afloat, wanting to fully reopen for over a year, but many restaurateurs have said asking for private medical information is more difficult than it is worth.
Last week, Governor David Ige announced that they can operate at full capacity if they make sure guests are fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID test within 48 hours of eating. But very few establishments have taken advantage of Tier 5 rules allowing them to operate at 100%.
A restaurant owner, who asked not to be identified, said he applied the rule before canceling it hours later due to customer complaints. He said it was too hard on his employees and it wasn’t worth it.
Hawaii Restaurant Association president Greg Maples said he was grateful for the state to try to help, but added the requirements make it more difficult.
“Going in that direction presents a whole set of challenges we’ve never encountered before,” Maples explained. “When you add the expectations of clients who come from other states that don’t have a mandate to a state that does, you still have that friction. “
Hana Koa Brewing Company in Kakaako implemented the change on Tuesday. KHON2 has contacted to find out how it is going and is awaiting a response.
Residents said it was too much to ask.
“I feel like it invades our personal information,” said Katy Ayson of Ewa Beach.
Arin Johnston said she didn’t agree either.
“They say you can’t come here if you’re not vaccinated or if you’re not ready to take a test,” Johnston explained. “I’m all about wearing a mask in someone’s business because you have the right to refuse business. If restaurants want to do that, that’s their right too, but I’m not going to be able to take advantage of your establishment.
Attorney Rich Turbin said the state was acting within the law.
“Constitutionally, the government has the right to exercise what we call police powers,” Turbin explained. “These are the powers to protect the health, safety and well-being of citizens. “
He said it’s not discrimination because anyone can get vaccinated or tested if they want to eat in this restaurant. No one is going to starve.
“They can go and eat at another restaurant, or they can go and buy food,” he said.
Governor Ige plans to drop all restrictions once 70% of the population is vaccinated. Health officials say it could happen this fall.