Most businesses in Honolulu comply with COVID-19 rules

HONOLULU — Over 160 Oahu business operators have been cited, warned or arrested in the weeks since Honolulu imposed new COVID-19 safety rules, including requiring proof of vaccination or negative test results.

Honolulu police have issued citations or made arrests in 44 cases since the new mandates went into effect Sept. 13, the Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

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Police have also issued more than 100 written warnings for a variety of violations and made an unspecified number of “verbal, non-written warnings.”

“The great majority of businesses are in compliance with the Safe Access Oahu requirements,” city spokesperson Tim Sakahara said.

City officials could not immediately break down the number of arrests versus citations because they are compiled together in the same records-keeping category, said Honolulu Police Department spokesperson Michelle Yu.

But she said the majority were citations, and very few were arrests.

The greatest number of arrests or citations, 17, were for lack of face coverings, and 11 were for not following social or physical distances.

Violations carry a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.

Honolulu Liquor Commission investigators, who regulate businesses that serve alcohol, have issued six notices of violation.

These included three for serving alcohol after 10 p.m., two for not checking vaccination status and one for failing to conduct contact tracing.

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Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, acknowledged enforcement efforts are limited but said the figures suggest most businesses are following the rules.

“Most do know that if they don’t comply there are ramifications, and most businesses want to do the right thing. … If everybody can play their role in implementation, the faster we can get out of this,” Menor-McNamara said.

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