Hawaii airport workers given extra time for vaccine mandate

HONOLULU — Airline workers and Transportation Security Administration staff have been granted a grace period to comply with a Hawaii order that requires people going to state facilities like airports to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

The grace period is for thousands of airport and airline employees, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

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Gov. David Ige’s office said in a statement that the airlines and TSA have been granted a grace period until Oct. 15. The order went into effect on Sept. 13.

“This aligns with the implementation date for similar federal requirements,” the statement said.

Angela Keen, co-founder of a quarantine watchdog group, said the move “doesn’t send the right safety message to the public and to visitors.”

“I’m sure there are other companies in Hawaii that are challenged because they have a lot of employees,” Keen said. “Why does the tourism industry get a pass?”

Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Alex Da Silva said the airline is consulting with state officials.

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“(W)e appreciate that the state has provided us with a grace period to allow us to fully understand and comply with the new safety protocols,” he said.

He said the airline has implemented a vaccination requirement for all U.S.-based employees that will take place in November.

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