Oahu eases restrictions on gatherings as Covid-19 cases drop

Hawaii Governor. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced that some restrictions on gatherings and activities were being lifted following a surge in Covid-19 cases. However, they did not welcome visitors back to the islands.
The governor advised visitors to postpone any trips to Hawaii until October, after the state reported an increase in infection rates and capacity at the hospital intensive care units.

Blangiardi also oversees Oahu's entire island and has banned large gatherings as well as imposed new restrictions on bars, restaurants and other businesses that are open to the public.

The seven-day average daily number of Covid cases in Hawaii dropped 74% from an early September peak of 884 to 229. Hilton Raethel (president and CEO of Healthcare Association of Hawaii) reported that hospital operations are largely back to normal.

Ige stated that "with input from epidemiologists, public health specialists and other experts, we continue to determine how much risk we are willing to accept in easing restrictions in a very measured manner."

"In real life, there is no single metric we can use for determining when it's appropriate or not to relax restrictions. This complex equation requires multiple factors.

With enhanced safety precautions, now managed events like weddings, concerts, and sports will be permitted on Oahu.

Outdoor seated venues such as concerts and sports competitions will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. Participants at the events must show proof of vaccination and be physically separated from other attendees. All event workers must be current on their vaccinations.

October 20th, private events that are managed outdoors on Oahu (e.g. weddings) will be permitted with a maximum attendance of 150. Photo Credit: Tor Johnson/Hawaii Tourism Authority

Indoor seated entertainment venues can operate at 50% capacity, or 500 maximum attendees, starting Oct. 20. All attendees must adhere to the same rules as outdoor events.

On Oct. 20, private, but managed outdoor events like weddings or funerals will be permitted with a maximum attendance of 150. All participants must be vaccinated, wear masks and submit a mitigation plan.

Joseph Esser (president of Oahu Wedding Association) said, "This is an important step for our industry's reopening." It's a great step forward, but there is still much to be done.

Esser stated that members of the association lost over 90% of their gross revenue due to the ban on large gatherings during September.

Esser stated that without federal aid programs' safety net, it was difficult to keep the doors open.

He said that he is a little anxious about the outcome of the requirement that all wedding guests be vaccinated. The ultimate goal of the association's response to the pandemic's "open-close, closed-close" approach to responding to its peaks and valleys.

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He said, "Certainly, this activity will be looked at and we'll work with the hotel industry to have a more precise response and announcement next week." We understand that hotels take time to get up to speed, so we are working to create a consistent message we want to send to all our travel partners around the globe.

The governor stated that he expected the state's other counties will ease restrictions on gatherings in the coming weeks.

Bars and restaurants on Oahu can now serve alcohol till midnight, after previously being restricted to serving alcohol at 10 p.m.

All other events have a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Ige stated that "This is not an all clear signal." "The pandemic in Hawaii, the country and the rest of the world is not over," Ige said.