Oahu eases restrictions on gatherings as Covid-19 cases decline: Travel Weekly


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In a joint press conference on Friday, Hawaii Governor David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced the easing of some restrictions on activities and gatherings imposed in a wave of cases of Covid-19, but they stopped before welcoming visitors to the islands.

In August, as the state reported high infection rates and hospital intensive care units reached capacity, the governor recommended visitors postpone all trips to Hawaii until the end of October.

Additionally, Blangiardi, who oversees the entire island of Oahu, has banned large gatherings and issued new restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses open to the public.

This week, the seven-day average of the daily number of new Covid cases in Hawaii fell 74%, from a peak of 884 in early September to 229. Hospital operations have largely returned to normal, reported Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Hawaii Healthcare Association.

“With input from epidemiologists and public health specialists, we continue to determine the level of risk we can accept by relaxing some restrictions in a very measured way,” said Ige.

“The reality is, there is no simple measure we can use to determine when it is appropriate to relax the restrictions. This is a complex equation that involves multiple considerations.”

Now, managed events, such as weddings, concerts, and sports, will be permitted on Oahu with heightened security precautions.

Starting October 13, outdoor venues, such as athletic competitions and concerts, are allowed to operate at 50% capacity or a maximum of 1,000 participants, whichever is less. All event participants will be required to show proof of vaccination, keep physically away from other people not in their group, and wear masks. People working on the events should either be vaccinated or undergo regular Covid-19 testing.

On October 20, private but managed outdoor events in Oahu, such as weddings, will be allowed with a maximum of 150 people. Photo credit: Tor Johnson / Hawaii Tourism Authority

On October 20, indoor entertainment venues will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity or a maximum of 500 participants, whichever is less, while all participants will be required to follow the same rules as for outdoor events.

Also on October 20, private but managed outdoor events such as weddings and funerals will be allowed with a maximum of 150 people. All participants must be vaccinated and wear masks, and organizers must submit a mitigation plan to the county.

“This is an important first step in reopening our industry,” said Joseph Esser, president of the Oahu Wedding Association. “It’s a big step forward, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Esser said that in September, association members said they had lost more than 90% of their expected gross income due to the ban on large gatherings.

“Without the safety net of federal aid programs, it has been difficult to keep the doors open,” Esser said.

He added that he had a bit of “anxiety” about how the requirement for all wedding guests to be vaccinated will play out, and the association’s ultimate goal is to surpass the model. ” open-closed, open-closed “pandemic response. Peaks and valleys.

Governor Ige has said he will monitor Covid-19 figures in the state and reopening of events over the coming weeks to determine the appropriate time to welcome visitors to the islands.

“Certainly we will look at this activity and work with the hospitality industry and the hospitality industry in general to have a more specific response and announcement next week,” he said. “We understand that it takes time for hotels to scale up, and we are certainly working on a cohesive message that we would like to spread to travel partners around the world.”

The governor added that he expects other counties in the state to ease restrictions on gatherings and events in the coming weeks as well.

On Oahu, bars and restaurants can now serve alcohol until midnight after previously having a cut-off time of 10 p.m.

The size of social gatherings for all other events will remain limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

“It’s not a clear signal,” Ige said. “The pandemic is far from over in Hawaii, the country and the world.”

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Sara H. Byrd

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