Government officials, UH remain silent on return of fans to sports

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Big West Conference schools can now decide if they want to allow fans at games. That is the announcement from the BWC that went into effect late last week.

The University of Hawaii, along with the State, City and Department of Health have remained silent on any decision regarding the return of fans to games.

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“I think it’s incumbent on the University of Hawaii when it is deemed safe to start letting some fans back in because it’s like a long-distance relationship, you can still have a lot of affection for somebody when you’re not physically in the same place, but that is obviously so much more intensified when you are right there,” said Spectrum Sports play-by-play announcer Kanoa Leahey.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not list specific capacity limits on fans who can attend sporting events safely.

Major League Baseball is allowing limited capacity, and at least half of NBA and NHL as well as the NCAA basketball tournaments are allowing a limited number of fans inside arenas — which the CDC considers higher risk.

“Everywhere around the country is opening up,” former Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji said. “Major League Baseball is going to have fans, there are fans at the March Madness so I don’t see why not.”

Die-hard fans say they will do anything to get back in to see one of Hawaii’s four nationally ranked teams.

“I want to go to every game I’m chomping at the bit to get out there, and I’m vaccinated so it should be ok,” said UH fan Sean Eyman.

Shoji takes it a step further.

“Secretly I asked somebody at UH to let me into a baseball game I would sweep the floor I would clean toilets, I would just love to see a baseball game!” he said, adding that he’d do the same for men’s volleyball, which is currently ranked first in the nation.

Leahey is worried the extended absence of more casual supporters could become permanent.

“The longer you go without fans being physically being able to attend games, the more of a risk you run that some of those fans may get used to not attending those games,” he said.

Requests for comment from the Hawaii Department of Health, Governor’s Office, City and County of Honolulu and the University of Hawaii were declined.

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