HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Wednesday, Oct. 27, announced a phased reopening plan that lifts COVID gathering restrictions for indoor and outdoor managed events on Oahu, including seated entertainment, interactive events and road races.
Effective Wednesday, Nov. 3, indoor and outdoor managed events can operate at 100% capacity. Attendees must be fully vaccinated and wear masks.
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“On a going forward basis, we still have our public safety, our public health, as top of mind, but the time has come. The time has come for us to move forward,” Blangiardi said during his news conference.
“We have shifted from a pandemic to an endemic,” Blangiardi continued. “We are going to have COVID in this community at some level, and we’re going to be hearing about case counts for some time… This is about going forward and living with it.”
The mayor said he is going to watch the hospital metrics very carefully, which are nothing but “green lights” right now. Blangiardi added that he is not sure what will trigger the decisions to allow restaurants, bars and gyms to go to full capacity, but he is hoping changes will happen soon.
“[They] come under something that we couldn’t touch from the City and County because it’s in the emergency proclamation of the governor,” he said.
Earlier this month, Gov. David Ige and the mayor announced loosened restrictions as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continued to drop. This allowed for limited attendance at sports games, weddings, concerts and other events.
Below are the current rules in place on Oahu, as well as the upcoming changes in November:
OUTDOOR SEATED ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS (SPORTS ARENAS, CONCERTS)
- Effective 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.
- Effective Nov. 3, outdoor seated entertainment events are allowed at 100% capacity. Same rules apply.
The governor worked with the University of Hawaii (UH) to allow up to 1,000 people at Ching Stadium when the Rainbow Warriors hosted New Mexico State on Oct. 23. It was the first time the new stadium had fans in the stands.
* Following the mayor’s announcement, UH’s next home game against San Diego State on Nov. 6 has been given the green light to hold up to 9,000 vaccinated fans at Ching Stadium.
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.
- Effective Nov. 3, road races and triathlons will be allowed without capacity limitations. All participants must be vaccinated. There will be staggered starts of groups of 50.
- Effective Nov. 24, staggered groups of 50 will be increased to 200. Same rules apply.
* The mayor also officially announced that the Honolulu Marathon will happen in person on Sunday, Dec. 12, with no limits on participants who are fully vaccinated.
INDOOR SEATED ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS (SPORTS ARENAS, CONCERTS)
- 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.
- Effective Nov. 3, indoor seated entertainment venues are allowed at 100% capacity. Same rules apply. These events include sports arenas and concert venues with assigned seating.
OUTDOOR INTERACTIVE EVENTS (WEDDINGS & FUNERALS)
- Effective Oct. 20, outdoor interactive events, such as weddings and funerals, are allowed to operate 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.
- Effective Nov. 3, outdoor weddings and funerals are allowed to operate at 50% capacity or up to 500 people maximum (including employees). Same rules apply.
- Effective Nov. 24, there will be no capacity limits. Same rules apply.
INDOOR INTERACTIVE EVENTS (WEDDINGS & FUNERALS)
- Current rules are 10 people.
- Effective Nov. 3, indoor weddings and funerals will be able to operate at 50% capacity with a maximum of 150 people (including employees). Food and beverages will be allowed.
- Effective Nov. 24, indoor weddings and funerals can have up to 300 people (including employees). Food and beverages will be allowed.
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.
- Since 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. Currently, the last call for alcohol is extended to midnight at bars and restaurants with a valid liquor license.
- Effective Nov. 3, bars can stay open until 2 a.m. Establishments offering or allowing liquor for on premises consumption may sell, serve, and allow consumption of liquor consistent with their liquor license with normal operating hours.
NO CHANGES IN GATHERING SIZES FOR ALL OTHER EVENTS
Current rules limit non-managed, social events to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. The suspension of large gatherings has been in place since Aug. 25 as part of Safe Access Oahu, which Blangiardi later rebranded as the Safe Oahu Response Plan for the extension.
The changes for managed events effective Nov. 3 and Nov. 24, as part of the Safe Access Oahu extension, will be in effect through Christmas Day, then the mayor will reevaluate from there. The indoor mask mandate remains the same.
Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines and boosters
“As of this week, we have the lowest infection rate in the nation for the duration of the pandemic going back to March 7 of last year. That’s something to be incredibly proud of,” said Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO. “We have the second-lowest death rate in the nation from the pandemic, again, going back to March 7 of last year.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 27, the Department of Health reported 184 coronavirus cases and one new death. The state stands at 71% of vaccinated residents. For a in-depth breakdown of the numbers, click here.