The announcement comes just days after Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced a similar mandate.
The vaccine passport in Honolulu, O’ahu, applies to bars, gyms, theaters, museums, restaurants, arcades, and similar establishments under the “Safe Access O’ahu” program, according to a news release from the Honolulu mayor’s office. The program is slated to start Sept. 13, mandating that customers show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter the business.
“Given the continued high infection rates on O’ahu and the strain to our hospital and emergency medical systems, it is my belief we must take additional steps to reduce the spread of the virus,” Blangiardi said. “We want to create safe spaces for employees and customers so they can feel confident the people around them are either vaccinated or have a negative test. We will continue to evaluate the program over the next 60 days.”
Meanwhile, Blangiardi’s office said this week that a modified health pass will come into effect on Sept. 15, targeting restaurants.
“For Maui we have a modified version, where customers would be required to show vaccination–vaccination cards, or some sort of verification,” said Victorino during a press briefing last week, adding that Maui’s program will be less restrictive than the Safe Access Oahu mandate.
On Oahu Island, which includes Hawaii’s capital and largest city, Honolulu, there are exceptions to the vaccine mandate, including children under the age of 12, people who can present a negative COVID-19 test result, people entering and remaining for fewer than 15 minutes per 24 hour period, and a restaurant that operates as a takeout, delivery, or food truck.
Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a Democrat, has said that the prospect of Hawaii implementing vaccine passports for other activities like concerts, gyms, and other events is a possibility, saying that the state is working with passport systems like Clear or CommonPass.
Vaccine passport systems have been implemented in other U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and others. In France, mass protests have erupted for eight consecutive weekends against mandates that were passed by the French Parliament in July.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation nonprofit, in a lengthy article, recently described a number of “missteps” that were made by various governments and private entities when trying to roll out vaccine passports.
“These new trust-based systems, if implemented in a way that automatically disqualifies people who received genuine vaccinations, will cause dire effects for years to come. It sets up a world where certain people can move about easily, and those who have already had a hard time with visas will experience another wall to climb,” the group said. “Vaccines should be a tool to reopen doors. Digital vaccine passports, as we’ve seen them deployed so far, are far more likely to slam them shut,” it added.