Oahu restaurants can increase capacity if customers are vaccinated or tested, but participating restaurants are hard to find


HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Restaurants and bars in Oahu can now remove social distancing if they ask their customers for proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test.

According to the Hawaii Restaurant Association, it’s difficult to find a restaurant participating in the program. In fact, he couldn’t name one.

Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director of HRA, said restaurants that participated earlier in the month received negative reactions.

“At first we were so excited,” she said. “It gave restaurants an option.”

Matsuoka said she expects small restaurants to be part of the change.

“But over time, we discovered that customers either didn’t want to show their card or weren’t vaccinated,” she said. “Visitors were upset because the guests were from states with fewer restrictions.”

Matsuoka said they are pushing for a 3-foot distance rule since schools will meet this restriction.

“It’s tough with 6 feet,” she said. “Restaurants have lost 2020, they still have to catch up a lot. “

Matsuoka said restaurants are very concerned about the numbers, both from a health perspective and from a business perspective.

Sarah Nguyen, owner of The Pizza Press in Pearl City, said she asked her employees about the program and decided not to.

“I let them know that I didn’t feel comfortable doing this,” Nguyen said. “I wanted to respect everyone’s privacy. It would be difficult to manage and I didn’t want to put my staff in a situation where a situation arose.

Giovanni Pastrami is located in the heart of Waikiki, and although the company struggles with the influx of visitors, its owner does not see the program as a viable option.

“Mainly due to the labor shortage and the additional compliance and training that would be required for this process, we didn’t want to put our employees in this position,” said Ryan Tanaka, owner and president of ‘Island Business Management. “We would deal with angry and confused customers who disagree with this process.”

Don Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Bar and Grill, said he noticed nearby restaurants asked customers for vaccination cards but received a backlash.

“They were eaten alive on social media,” Murphy said. “I don’t want to put my staff through this.

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