Maui County customers no longer need to present proof of a booster shot at indoor bars, restaurants, and gyms announced Mayor Mike Victorino on Monday.
According to Victorino, the change is the result of a dramatic drop in COVID-19 incidents during the time the measure was in effect.
“We are relaxing the pandemic rules to a degree due to the number of cases dropping through county and state, and hospitals lessened with the burden of high numbers.”
In the last 24 hours, the state Department of Health reported 92 COVID-19 cases on Maui, 125 on Hawaii Island, 94 on Kauai, four on Molokai, seven on Lanai, and 23 outside the state.
This follows a peak of 6,252 new cases reported on Jan. 18, 2022. Since then, the number of both new cases and hospitalizations has decreased.
Most local restaurant and bar owners were opposed to the measure claiming that it unfairly targeted their sector over others.
On the other hand, their customers did not have to wear a mask inside, which made their business riskier.
And this is why clients must continue to show proof of full vaccination to retain access to those venues.
Montgomery Chong, a Wailuku resident, said he supports the vaccine mandate but believes a booster requirement was excessive.
“I think it hurts business. Until we get more information, I don’t see a need for it,” Chong said.
Scrapping this measure is -noticeable- given that Hawaii is to impose a booster requirement on all inbound travelers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC currently recommended booster doses for those 12 and older five months after the second shot of Pfizer or Moderna and two months after the Johnson & Johnson shot.
However, the lowering case counts in Maui and throughout Hawaii might permit a shift in strategy.