Maui Safer Outside Reported Backlash in Businesses


HONOLULU (KHON2) – Maui’s new “Safer Outside” initiative is the latest set of COVID-19 safety rules governing life on the island, and they’ve put more than just reminders on corporate plates there – low.

“My staff panic about it, like they’re crying, they’re in tears, they’re getting yelled at by customers,” said Javier Barberi, owner of Down the Hatch and Mala Tavern. “We have had people who, when we asked them to check their vaccination passports, they would become very upset. They will cause a big scene, they will insult us or say that we are racist.

The situation got to the point where the restaurant had to protect its employees.

“We need to hire additional security guards at Down the Hatch. We have an aloha ambassador who has to stand there, and we have to pay them. We have to train them and tell them what to do and what to look for, ”explained Barberi.

Under Maui safer outside, unvaccinated guests have the option of eating in outdoor dining areas, but guests must show proof of vaccination for indoor seating. However, under Secure access to Oahu, customers must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for indoor and outdoor meals.

Honolulu Police have responded to a few incidents involving customers who failed to provide proof of coronavirus vaccination and then refused to leave the scene.

At Duke’s Waikiki, although the restaurant didn’t have to call the police, they saw a few patrons who created more challenges for the staff.

“The person had their vaccination card, but really wanted to try to be difficult and wanted to use a negative test that was not done at the right time and the wrong time,” said Dylan Ching, vice president of operations for TS Restaurants. . “That kind of questioning of the whole situation and when it was all said and done, they had a vaccine card. So it seems some people just want to be picky. “

The Liquor Commission has issued four citations since Safe Access Oahu began on Monday, September 13. Meanwhile, Maui Police also issued two citations for violations. Restaurants demand that customers obey the rules because the consequences will eventually fall on businesses.

“If we don’t follow it, we could be fined $ 5,000 or jail time or both,” said Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director of the Hawaii Restaurant Association.

Their message for the guests? Please act with aloha.

“Understand that the host, hostess, waiter can be your child, your niece, your nephew, your neighbor and they are just doing their job,” Matsuoka said.

“When they tell us to do something, it’s our business, our livelihood. This is how we put food on the table, we have families who survive on the money they receive. So we have to follow the rules, ”Barberi said.

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