Honolulu mayor against going back tiers

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he will do what he can to keep the county on Tier Three of its reopening strategy.

He said making modifications to the tiers can be an option.

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Currently, cases need to average below 50 in order to prevent going backwards, something the mayor strongly opposes.

“I’ve asked for modifications for Tier Three to have it be 50 to 100 cases, I think we can stay in that range with a positivity rate of two and a half,” Blangiardi said. “The notion of going back to Tier Two is something I am dead set against as mayor, and I will be on record saying that.”

Governor David Ige said he is open to the idea of modifications to the emergency order covering Oahu.

“It might be necessary to modify his order so it’s not automatic,” Ige said. “Suppose they could just ignore the current order. It would be better for them to make a modification of that requirement which explicitly directs the mayor to issue a new order.”

The current emergency order requires the mayor to issue a request to move or adjust tiers by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, business leaders and state lawmakers Rep. Sylvia Luke and Sen. Glenn Wakai are championing a proposal to remove restaurants from the tier system completely.

Wakai said, “Chopping them all off because of one bad actor in one sector, that’s totally not fair.”  

Under the proposal, a restaurant would volunteer to join a pilot called the MANA Program. Restaurants would need to pass a rigid health inspection in order for the business to be removed from the tiers.

Yakitori Hachibei owner Robert Yamazaki said he has been working on a proposal using CDC and county health guidelines for restaurants to follow and be exempt from the tier guidelines.

Yamazaki said, “We were just trying to find a way to not be victims of other people’s bad actions.” 

The MANA program is still being vetted by the state.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had an error in the name of the business. The business is Yakitori Hachibei. The story has been corrected.

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