Honolulu plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions starting next week

Governor David Ige and Mayor Rick Blangiardi held a joint press conference today to announce the return of “managed events” to Oahu next week while taking safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We sincerely thank everyone who received their vaccination and helped stop the rising COVID-19 numbers and ease the pressure on our hospitals and healthcare workers,” said Mayor Blangiardi. “This is about recognizing the efforts of the majority of our employees who have done their part to protect our communities.

“I think it’s fair now to say that we all need to realize that we need to learn to live with COVID-19 as we rebuild our local economy and rebalance our general public health.”

As of Wednesday, outdoor seating entertainment events, including sports arenas and concert halls, are allowed with a capacity of 50 percent or a maximum of 1,000 participants, whichever is less. All participants must be vaccinated, masked, and physically distant, and a damage control plan is required. Apart from water, no food or drinks may be consumed. Event staff must adhere to Safe Access Oahu’s protocols.

Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed to play the University of Hawaii’s next home soccer game on October 23, which only allows friends and families of both teams and does not require entry, Blangiardi said.

“This is kind of a beta test,” said Blangiardi. Children under the age of 12 could potentially attend the last two UH games, and Blangiardi said he hopes the general public will have an opportunity to purchase 1,000-seat tickets, which are likely to be available at the 9,000-seat Ching Stadium.

In addition, Blangiardi announced:

>> UH Wahine’s indoor volleyball games are limited to 500 fans from October 20th with the same restrictions. The same rules apply to other indoor seating venues.

>> The same day, interactive outdoor events, including traditional gatherings such as weddings and funerals, are allowed with a capacity of 50 percent or a maximum of 150 vaccinated attendees and event staff, whichever is smaller, and all must be masked. A mitigation plan is needed. Food and drinks are allowed, as well as masked togetherness and interaction. Event staff must adhere to Safe Access Oahu’s protocols. Children are admitted.

>> Golf tournaments are allowed from Wednesday for fully vaccinated golfers. For indoor events related to golf tournaments, Oahu’s safe access limits must be adhered to.

>> Street races and triathlons are allowed with a maximum of 500 vaccinated participants, with staggered starts for groups of no more than 25 people from Wednesday.

>> In bars and restaurants with a valid liquor license, the alcohol service will be extended to midnight with immediate effect.

The size of the social gatherings for all other events is based on the current guidelines of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

“I’m looking forward to the next few weeks,” said Ige.

But he emphasized: “This is not the all-clear. The pandemic is far from over. Many members of our community, our family members, friends and colleagues are still seriously ill, are still in hospital and unfortunately some are still dying. “

In August, Ige asked visitors to stay away until the end of October, just before the traditional holiday travel season usually begins.

Today Ige said he was working with the visitor industry and that he would “make a more specific announcement next week. … We will definitely work on a more consistent message. “

Editor’s Note: This story is under development and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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