Honolulu said Monday that customers wouldor a negative test to enter a slate of businesses beginning next month as concerns grow over the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the new program, dubbedon Sept. 13. It mirrors rules that many locations across the nation have adopted since the Food and Drug Administration gave its on Aug. 23. The restrictions will apply to many lifestyle and entertainment venues, including restaurants, bars, movie theaters, museums, and gyms, among .
If customers are not, the negative test must be from within the past 48 hours. Children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for a , are exempt from the requirements.
“This is about public health — with numbers like nothing we’ve seen before,” Blangiardi said, pointing to surging infectionwards. “We’re begging people to get vaccinated, and anywhere we can enforce it, we will.”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser added that the program would beas officials determine if it effectively slows the spread of new infections. Businesses that fail to comply will be fined and possibly shut down, Blangiardi said.
“We wanted to have a common-sense approach,” the mayor said. “We are trying to rebuild. We don’t want a lockdown.”
Hawaii has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, with more thanfully inoculated against COVID-19. But the delta variant has upended reopening plans and strained hospital systems even in regions with such positive statistics. The state’s largest hospitals said their earlier this month.
The move followsweek’s plea by Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) to the islands while the delta variant spreads throughout the community.
“Now is not the time to visit the islands,” Ige toldweek. “It’s a risky time to be traveling right now.”
The state stillresult or quarantine for ten days before being allowed in public. I said Hawaii would not tighten its entry requirements, which were loosened last month for vaccinated visitors.
The Washington Post reported thatarrived in Hawaii by plane in June.
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