Starting today, the State of Hawaii is requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test in order to enter an airport lounge. While Honolulu already requires proof of vaccination to dine indoors, this rule has a bizarre exception.
New Restrictions on Airline Lounges In Hawaii, But An Odd Exception
Live and Let’s Fly has reviewed a memo delivered to United Club agents today outlining the new requirements. In order to enter the United Club in Honolulu, a passenger must show:
- Proof of full vaccination and a matching photo ID
- This can be a printed state-approved vaccination card or a photo of the card, or a Hawaii state-approved digital/smart device application confirming full vaccination status
- Two weeks must have passed since their final shot
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of entry and a matching photo ID
- This can be a test result for an FDA-approved COVID-19 molecular or antigen test
The testing or vaccination requirement also applies to employees.
But there’s a very odd exception. Per the memo, “This requirement does not apply to anyone remaining in the United Club at HNL for 15 minutes or less.”
I really don’t understand this exemption. If the concern is public health and the spread of virus, why bother at all if anyone can enter the lounge without showing proof of vaccination or a negative test, as long as they pledge to say less than 15 minutes? This new regulation presumably applies to all airline lounges in Hawaii or at least on Oahu: will extra staff be hired to ensure that those without vaccines do not overstay their 15 minutes? This is particularly relevant because I would guess most passengers would use the lounge on their way home from the Hawaiian islands, a situation in which COVID-19 testing is not necessary for Mainland flights.
Children under the age of 12 are also exempt, which makes sense considering they are not eligible for the vaccine.
While the new vaccine entrance requirement can be traced to public health concerns, I am puzzled by the 15-minute exception. Logically, how does that possibly make sense?