Hawaii holds on to virus restrictions even as cases plummet

HONOLULU (AP). Hawaii is still one of the most restrictive states regarding COVID-19 mandates despite having one the highest rates of vaccination in the country.
Many state and county laws have been changed frequently, leaving many people, businesses and residents confused.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige stated earlier this year that any restrictions would be lifted once 70% of the population is fully vaccinated. However, a flood of delta variant cases flooded hospitals and required that additional rules be put in place to protect against COVID-19.

The case numbers have fallen and 83% of Hawaii's eligible residents are now fully vaccinated. However, there are still many rules.

After her wedding was postponed twice due to the pandemic, Germaine Malabanan is planning to marry on Oahu in this month.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that security guards required for weddings will ensure that her guests wear masks outdoors.

Malabanan stated that if everyone has been vaccinated, and we all live outside, then I don't see why we need masks.

Unvaccinated guests are also prohibited from coming to the venue. Although most Oahu venues require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID testing for admission, the regulations prohibit weddings from using this option.

According to my understanding, Hawaii has one the best, if no, the best turnouts for vaccines, but we are still one the most restricted and shut down places," said Joseph Esser (wedding photographer, president of Oahu Wedding Association).

These rules are just a few of the many restrictions that apply to each county and state.

Most states in the United States had removed coronavirus and mask restrictions by July 1. Some jurisdictions were forced to reintroduce rules due to the delta variant surge, but others are easing as current cases plummet.

The latest emergency proclamation of Iges, 50 pages long, outlines the different measures.

If everyone is fully vaccinated or a member of the same household, then passengers can't ride in a private vehicle without wearing a mask. It is forbidden to mix with others at bars and restaurants. Private indoor gatherings with more than 10 persons are also prohibited.

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Ige stated that we consider many factors before we implement or reduce restrictions. Large-scale gatherings could quickly lead to the type of surge that could force us into reinstituting restrictions. This is something we want to avoid.

Rules for counties can be different and must be approved by the governor.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said last week that Oahu restrictions would be relaxed starting Wednesday, but there are still some people who are confused.

Outdoor marathon participants do not need masks. However, they are necessary for outdoor parties, weddings, and funerals.

Football games are not allowed to serve food or beverages, but it is okay to have them in movie theatres.

A person must be fully vaccinated to go to a concert. Patrons who are not vaccinated can go to bars.

Peter Yee, a Maui employee of car rental, was laid off last January. He said that the restrictions were too harsh on workers.

He said that people are tired of the restrictions. This is the Hawaiian vibe.