At least two Hawaii restaurants are asking visitors and travelers not to dine in at their establishments — despite the state’s new pre-travel coronavirus testing program.
Last week, Hawaii launched the program, which allows travelers to avoid the state’s 14-day quarantine if they test negative for the coronavirus 72 hours before they arrive.
However, Saenz Ohana Breakfast in Princeville, Hawaii, and the Lighthouse Bistro in Kilauea, Hawaii, would prefer not to have those travelers sitting down to eat.
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According to KHON 2, Saenz, a food truck on the island of Kauai, posted on Facebook last week explaining that its seating area is only available to Kauai residents and will be closed to visitors from elsewhere.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the post even said the food truck would check to make sure that people who were sitting and eating had local IDs.
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Since it was originally posted last week, the message has been edited “to clear any confusion,” an updated version of the post read.
“We ARE NOT denying service to ANYONE,” the post said. “We are open and asking that ANYONE who has traveled within the last 14 days to please order online.”
The post explains how to order and pay online and that people who order online will have their food delivered to their cars.
“We only have two tables outdoors for seating, so it’s limited but we are leaving the tables reserved for the customers that have not traveled in the past 14 days or come in contact with someone who has traveled in the past 14 days,” the post continued. “We are taking these steps to keep ourselves, community, and customers safe during this pandemic.”
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Saenz’s owner Juan Saenz told KHON 2 that despite some pushback he’s received, he plans to stick to the safety measures.
“It’s supposed to be for all travelers, including residents,” he told the local station. “So if someone’s coming home from the mainland, and they come to Kauai, we’re asking them to order online as well as if someone’s coming to visit because we feel that the testing system is not 100 percent.”
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According to the Star-Advertiser, the Lighthouse Bistro posted a picture on social media of a sign on the front door of the restaurant saying that travelers who have not quarantined for 14 days would not be allowed to dine.
“Attention Bistro Patrons,” the sign reportedly said. “Recent unquarantined travelers do not enter. You are welcome back post 14-day quarantine.”
That post appears to have been removed as of Tuesday evening.
However, the sentiment still stands, owner Matt Ernsdorf told KHON 2.
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“This isn’t just visitors, this is also employees,” Ernsdorf said. “This is family members that I’ve told can’t come in there.”
He said the rule is about protecting relatives who work at the restaurant, as well as the rest of the community.
“If something did happen, I would feel horrible,” he said.
However, he told KHON 2 that travelers and visitors are allowed to order from the restaurant for takeout.
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