HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige plans to announce on Friday, Oct. 8, that he will drop some COVID restrictions. University of Hawaii (UH) sports fans and business owners are hoping that means the ban on large gatherings will be lifted.

Fans, and those in the industry for special events and weddings, rallied at the State Capitol on Thursday, Oct. 7, to make sure the governor hears their message. They said large gatherings can be safe with the right measures in place, and it does not make sense to keep fans away from UH football games any longer.

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“How can you say that you’re going to have a spike in a 9,000 seat stadium with 500 people there, or even 1000, when you have hundreds of people going into Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart everyday?”

UH fan Alan Sunio

Fans pointed out that the rest of the country has filled their stadiums with in-person fans and not seeing the UH home team play in person all season has been tough.

“Oh my God, I have to be with my cats all day long, every day, which is important. But I mean I’m a go-getter. I support every sport,” said UH sports fan Del Ching.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he has asked the governor to allow about a 1,000 of the football team’s friends and family members in the stands at the game on Saturday, Oct. 23, against New Mexico State, as well as allow all UH fans at the last two home games in November.

At a Board of Regents hearing, UH athletic director David Matlin said in-person fans can be done safely if people wore masks, were vaccinated and/or tested.

“When fans return, it’s going to be about the mitigating protocols that we’ve been talking about that will be critical to keep our community safe,” said Matlin.

Those at the rally are cautiously optimistic that the governor will allow them to get back to work. The mayor assured them that they will not be disappointed with Friday’s announcement.

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“We’re going to make announcements on weddings tomorrow, we’re going to make other announcements with live venues, structured, and I think, as I’m going to say tomorrow, we’re gonna monitor that carefully, and if we continue to have the good progress, the news only gets better going forward,” added Blangiardi.