HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced loosened restrictions during a news conference on Friday, Oct. 8, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to drop.
During the month of October attendance at sports games, weddings, concerts and other events will be allowed after health specialists gave the green light on easing restrictions in a measured way.
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“Hospitals are still busy, but we have reached a point where hospital census should no longer be a leading indicator of the need for restrictions,” said Hilton Raethel, President and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. “Hawaii hospital leadership believes that it is time for state and county leaders to consider steps to open up safely for business.”
More than 72% of Oahu’s total population is now fully vaccinated, and more than 84% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. Gov. Ige emphasized that although restrictions are being loosened, this is not an “all clear.” The pandemic is far from over.
OUTDOOR SPORTS, CONCERTS
- Effective Wednesday, Oct. 13, outdoor seated entertainment events, including sports arenas and concert venues, are allowed at 50% capacity or up to 1,000 people, whichever is smaller. Attendees must be vaccinated, masked and physically distanced. Other than water, no food or beverages are allowed.
The governor said he has been working with the University of Hawaii (UH) to allow up to 1,000 people at Ching Stadium when the Rainbow Warriors host New Mexico State on Saturday, Oct. 23. It will be the first time the new stadium will have fans in the stands.
Rob Atimalala, whose son is sophomore wide receiver Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, said he still cannot get over missing out on UH’s homecoming on Oct. 2 when the team upset the nationally ranked Fresno State Bulldogs. Fans at the next game will be limited to the team’s family members, friends and season ticket holders.
“I mean last week’s game, that was a game that we definitely had to be there. That was so exciting man!” Atimalala said. “We’ve been ready for the last couple of years already, but I know it’s been hard with this COVID going on. I’m sure there’s protocols we can go through to make it safe for everyone.”
RACES & TRIATHLONS
- Effective Oct. 13, road races and triathlons are allowed up to 500 vaccinated participants, and staggered starts of groups with no more than 25 people. Golf tournaments will be allowed with vaccinated participants. The Safe Access Oahu program is required if dining at the golf course.
That means the Honolulu Marathon will happen in person on Sunday, Dec. 12. Blangiardi previously said it would be a “major signal” to the community that “we’re back.”
“We’re ready to go, we’re excited, and once we get the word, we’re gonna promise the community that we’re going to put on a great event and a safe event for everybody,” said Dr. Jim Barahal, Honolulu Marathon President and CEO, told KHON2 on Wednesday, Oct. 6.
- Effective Wednesday, Oct. 20, indoor seated entertainment venues are allowed at 50% capacity or up to 500 vaccinated attendees, whichever is smaller. Attendees must be vaccinated, masked and physically distanced. Other than water, no food or beverages are allowed.
OUTDOOR WEDDINGS & FUNERALS
- Effective Oct. 20, outdoor interactive events, such as weddings and funerals, are allowed at 50% capacity or up to 150 attendees (vaccinated) and staff (vaccinated or tested), whichever is smaller. Food and beverages are allowed, as is masked mingling and interaction.
- Indoor weddings will still be capped at 10 people.
In late September, Ige met with Hawaii wedding industry leaders to discuss how they can work with him to allow people to get married and keep everyone safe while restrictions are in place. The wedding industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, forcing them to shut down several times since 2020.
WATCH: No changes for Hawaii weddings after industry leaders met with Gov. David Ige
Since Monday, Sept. 13, restaurants and bars could not serve alcohol after 10 p.m. The liquor commission has been investigating businesses suspected of violating the rules. Effective immediately, the last call for alcohol will be extended to midnight at bars and restaurants with a valid liquor license.
NO CHANGES IN GATHERING SIZES FOR ALL OTHER EVENTS
Current rules limit events to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors through Tuesday, Oct. 19. The suspension of large gatherings has been in place since Aug. 25 as part of Safe Access Oahu, which Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi later rebranded as the Safe Oahu Response Plan for the extension. The indoor mask mandate also remains the same.
Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines and boosters
On Friday, Oct. 8, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) reported 201 new COVID cases and seven new deaths. That breaks down to 126 cases on Oahu, 39 on the Big Island, seven on Kauai, 19 on Maui, one on Lanai, and nine diagnosed out of state. The state stands at 69.3% of vaccinated residents.