VOICES: Traveler testing beats vaccine passports

According to The Garden Island on Nov. 3 (aka 20 months into flatten the curve), Mayor Kawakami feels pressured by Governor Ige’s proclamation regarding opening restaurants at full capacity. Specifically, he feels we may have “no choice” but to start requiring proof of COVID vaccine or a negative test within 48 hours in order to go to restaurants and other select businesses. Just like they currently do in O‘ahu.

I don’t know who else has been to O‘ahu recently, but I’ve been, and it was terrible. The layers of bureaucracy were ridiculous. Not to mention, people who were fully vaccinated against COVID had no fewer restrictions than people who merely tested negative.

Both had to carry ID everywhere, as well as their cell phones. Both had to stand in lines, and be subject to silly wrist bands. In trying to make everything “safe,” O‘ahu drained all the life from Waikiki and Honolulu. The whole place was just depressing.

Empty storefronts and abandoned food courts sat within blocks of the multimillion-dollar Tesla store. My daughter and I were the only customers in the two-story, 4000 square-foot Victoria’s Secret.

Nothing in the city worked. Nothing made sense. In fact, I traveled to O‘ahu to look at the university at Manoa with my daughter, and the experience was so unpleasant that for now, she plans to go to KCC for a couple of years.

Now Kawakami suggests we may “have to” follow O‘ahu’s lead? Absurd! Why would we follow policies that have made O‘ahu so unpleasant that nobody wants to go there anymore?

Several places in America have implemented vaccine cards or other schemes, and it seems they work better in some places than others. According to my brother in New York (who is very pro-vaccine, by the way) vaccine passes in NYC work much like apartheid. Poor African Americans get asked for their ID and “papers” when they enter a restaurant, while rich, white patrons face no such demands.

I saw no such blatant racism in O‘ahu, thank goodness, but it’s easy to see how schemes that require ID and various government or medical documents to walk around can be used for the worst type of abuses.

Who likes being pulled over by the police and asked to show your license? Why would anyone want the same experience every time they go to a restaurant?

At some point, we need to recognize that what they are doing on O‘ahu is a terrible idea, and we don’t want that here on Kaua‘i. Checking papers all the time is bad for business, bad for society, and bad for tourism.

I’ve written before here that the best way to keep COVID out of Hawai‘i is to return to testing all travelers for COVID before they come—whether they are vaccinated or not.

Apparently, Ige felt that it was easier to ask for their documents three times a day, every time they went to eat a meal.

So instead of one inconvenience before coming, tourists get to experience dozens of inconveniences while here.

Well, that’s stupid. It just is. And if Kawakami has more than two brain cells to rub together, he won’t adopt that scheme here on Kaua‘i.

We don’t have the manpower, even if we wanted to. Enough is enough. Just say no.


Jennifer Cornforth is a resident of Kilauea

  1. Patrick H Flores November 4, 2021 5:15 am Reply

    Jennifer Cornforth, the only thing government wants to eliminate is personal freedoms, not health and welfare. It has been said that power corrupts and ultimate power absolutely corrupts. Ige and his ilk truly shows that.
    Patrick H Flores, Nampa, Id

  2. Scott November 4, 2021 6:27 am Reply

    Spot on!!!!!

    1. Citizen Cane November 5, 2021 6:11 pm Reply

      Jennifer Cornforth’s Oahu observations are just plain bull….oney! I’m a Kauai resident living in Honolulu for the past several weeks—I don’t even know where to start! We’re eating most meals out. We shop every day. Wristbands? Lines? Layers of bureaucracy? Huh? Wha? I have yet to see a wristband, nor had to use the Q code on my phone (most restaurants don’t have the scanners). Stores & businesses of all stripe are wide open, w/ no checks or restrictions. And lines? Once at Ala Moana food court for about a minute—out of a dozen visits. This Henney Penney exaggeration will just hurt businesses trying to get back on their feet. Before I go into a restaurant they ask to see my vax card. So what? When I sit down I feel safer. I’m a small business owner. You want to help us get back our economy here in the Islands? Get vaxed. Do your part. If you feel inconvenienced think about the essential workers bagging your groceries and bringing your food—and get over it.

  3. so, dont go! November 4, 2021 7:45 am Reply

    …just say no…to what? Being Inconvenienced? You have the option of not traveling right now! Anyone who visits the islands now knows or should know the status! You can call it racism if you choose, however if you ever experienced racism directly, you would know enforcing temporary regulations for the benefit of public safety is NOT racism.

  4. Petrina Blakely November 4, 2021 7:53 am Reply

    While Vaccine passport management might be more work for businesses it is my understanding that is has made a difference in the number of Covid cases on both Oahu and Maui. That in and of itself is enough to make me a fan of it for Kaua’i.

    If It will make restaurant dining and entertainment and other larger public venues safer for those of us who are vaccinated. I definitely vote yes.

  5. james November 4, 2021 8:01 am Reply

    I am very pro-vaccine and recently got my Moderna booster. However, I agree with Jennifer for the most part. It’s pretty clear that anyone who wanted to get vaccinated has already done so. So let’s just do away with all Covid restrictions. No masks, no distancing, no Covid passports. Other states have done it and survived. I wouldn’t have said this 6 months ago but I think the time has come to let the chips fall where they may and move forward. Now that kids can get vaccinated, we are in a good position to get back to normal and make protective measures optional. I’m fed up with wearing masks and our businesses need a break from these limitations. Yes, folks will still get Covid, but we can’t go on like this forever. Now is the time to return to normal.

  6. also kilauea resident November 4, 2021 8:50 am Reply

    There are six Covid cases in the ICU today. They could have been prevented by vaccination. A resident who has a heart attack or stroke may soon be denied an ICU bed because it is full. Anything that encourages anti-vaxxers to abandon their unfounded opinions is a good thing.

    I have been out of state for a couple of months and shown my vaccine card at restaurants without difficulty and also watched cases go down. With the improvement on Kauai recently I felt safe returning home. But no. Cases are climbing again. Businesses that do maintenance/repair on my home turn out to be anti-vaxxers. The only safety in restaurants is spaced out tables. Retail such as groceries is only masks. Yet our local government wants to open up and eliminate these small restrictions without requiring vaccination to enjoy these privileges.

    In developing public policy could we for once support the advice of people who have studied immunology for 10+ years over the guy who just guesses it might not be safe?

    1. Just sayin.. November 5, 2021 7:56 am Reply

      Dear also Kilauea resident, today’s paper says 5 Covid cases in the hospital. NOT in ICU. Yesterday paper said there were 6 cases in hospital NOT in ICU. Please don’t spread fear about no ICU beds for heart attacks and other Critical patients.. to date with my understanding there are NO Covid cases the the ICU. Thanks for reading

      1. also Kilauea resident November 5, 2021 12:22 pm Reply

        Very happy to hear that the cases are in the hospital but not in the ICU. May I ask the source of your information since apparently the paper doesn’t specify? Would appreciate having this info in the future. In the meantime sorry for being unduly alarmist. However it still holds that Kauai has limited resources for taking care of seriously ill and my other comments still stand.

  7. drsurf November 4, 2021 9:17 am Reply

    Other countries, England in particular, gives out multiple home tests that are monitored via an app. People can test when/where they want with immediate results. Home tests are very scarce on island.

  8. Robin Clark November 4, 2021 2:56 pm Reply

    Just back from Rome and Venice. Italy is under strict indoor vaccine mandate and mask mandate indoors or on public transport. Both cities were bustling- restaurants, stores, museums, etc. Europeans showed the green pass and we (few) Americans showed our vaccine card- process took maybe a minute (or less) at most venues. Cases (and deaths) in Italy are way down, except in Trieste where there is a strong anti-vaccine movement. Don’t know what is going on in Oahu but if Italians can be so efficient why can’t we?

    1. Freedom Rains November 6, 2021 8:12 am Reply

      Well if fascism and government control is “efficient”, then surely that justifies any and all measures they might take in the “best interest” of the people. Wake up and see what is coming! The difference between Italy and the U.S. is that we have a Constitution which includes a Bill of Rights.

  9. Des November 4, 2021 10:39 pm Reply

    What a desperately blind editorial that seems to think that Hawaii is purely a Disneyland-like resort, and that no one actually lives here.

    News Flash, Jennifer: these are actual communities with actual people on the islands, and COVID is community spread. Your idea of just one test before coming is entirely irrelevent. COVID is here. We need to protect the community from that, or rather from the irresponsible people unwilling to support the community they’re a part of by getting vaccinated.

    If you don’t like that, maybe don’t travel during a global pandemic and then Karen about it.

  10. Petrina Blakely November 5, 2021 7:01 am Reply

    I appreciate the confirmation by those of you who have already worked with the vaccine passport in other countries or cities to see how well they can work. I also wanted to add that I understand that this requirement has helped raise the vaccination rates in areas with vaccination card requirements too.

    Vaccination requirements have been long standing to enter various countries not to mention attend schools. We need to band together and fight Covid as well.

  11. Send her to UH November 5, 2021 8:02 am Reply

    Just returned from NY and had to show my vax card to dine in. They accpeted a photo on the phone with a physical ID. It was no different than showing ID for a credit card when you make a purchase. They asked everyone, black, white and in between.

    Please don’t hold your daughter back from a quality 4 year education because of this. Victoria Secret is not the norm. My kid is at UH attending classes, meeting new friends and dining out. The UH campus is not a depressing place to be.

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