Honolulu could move to Tier 3 as soon as Feb. 25

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu residents and businesses could soon see some changes to tier restrictions. Mayor Rick Blangiardi said, the numbers look good and Oahu could shift to Tier 3 as soon as Thursday, Feb. 25, if they continue to remain low.

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Oahu has been stuck in Tier 2 of the Reopening Strategy since October, 2020, but it looks like that may finally change.

“For the past several weeks we’ve had the best numbers in the nation: the instances of disease, number of deaths, people in hospitals,” Blangiardi explained. “We’ve got to reward the public.”

He said, he was waiting for the incubation period from the Super Bowl to pass before making any changes.

“We are now in that window and our test numbers, our results the last couple of days have been most favorable,” Blangiardi said.

Honolulu would have to maintain a seven-day average case count between 20 and 49 to move into Tier 3, with a positivity rate between 1% and 2.49%.

Honolulu’s seven-day case average is 31 as of Thursday, Feb. 18, according to the city’s website, and the positivity rate is 1%.

“The tier system was written with an estimation or a projection that a vaccine was going to be available mid-summer, mid-21,” Blangiardi said. “We’re ahead of schedule on that and what we’ve been able to do thus far.”

He said, the vaccine has been a game changer.

“As we’ve protected now our most vulnerable, it’s an opportunity right now for our least vulnerable,” Blangiardi said. “And not only that, the behaviors that have been learned over the course of a year, in practices. So I think there’s a lot of room here to take a fresh look at what we can do under these circumstances.”

Blangiardi said, he is considering loosening the rules for youth sports but did not provide details.

He said, ultimately the decision to shift to Tier 3 or relax regulations is not up to him. Gov. David Ige would have to sign-off before any changes go into effect.

There have been concerns about people breaking the rules and a lack of enforcement.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said, they are still enforcing the rules. “But we take the tactic now, as we have of doing, more education and warnings,” Chief Ballard said.

Ballard said, officers generally only cite someone if they are uncooperative. She added that she hopes legislation to lessen the penalty from a crime to a fine will help.

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