Oahu to remain in Tier 3 for next 4 weeks after mayor, governor reach agreement

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi came to an agreement on Wednesday, April 7, confirming the City and County of Honolulu will remain in Tier 3 of the reopening strategy for the next four weeks.

The mayor had previously said he was against going back to Tier 2.

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Mayor Blangiardi said, he is thankful for Gov. Ige’s support in allowing Honolulu to remain in Tier 3.

“I would like to thank Governor Ige for his support and allowing the community to stay in Tier 3, which has a profound impact on our businesses, families and community. We are focused on the broader definition of health and I believe moving back to Tier 2 at this point would have had a tremendous negative impact on the overall health and economic recovery, including the impacts on livelihoods, jobs and mental and emotional health.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi

The mayor says officials will decide over the next four weeks if Honolulu will be forced to move back to Tier 2.

“The next four weeks are critical in determining if we can continue in Tier 3 or are forced to take a step backwards. We need the community to help guide the cause and prevent the spread of the virus by wearing masks, staying physically distanced and getting the vaccine if you are able to. The more people being vaccinated brings us that much closer to a day when we can eliminate the tier system altogether, but we must have community support, so please continue practicing the safety measures that have made Hawai‘i the best in the country in terms of low case counts, positivity rate, hospitalizations and mortality rate.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi

On Monday, Blangiardi said he had requested modifications to Tier 3 to expand the weekly average case count from 50 to 99 cases in order to remain in the current tier. However, the compromise with the governor now puts that request on hold.

It’s not for certain that the county will remain in the current tier once the four weeks are up.

Doctor Douglas Kwock with Hawaii Pacific Health said cases are on the rise, but hospitals are not being impacted. Kwock said more virus transmission will happen as more people interact with each other and encourages everyone to remain cautious against the virus.

“I think there are concerns. I think as we continue to open it’s kind of been expected that cases are going to go up,” Kwock said. “But again, as we balance how quickly we get shots in arms, you know we’ll find out more where we settle.”

Meanwhile, the Hawaii Restaurant Association Chair Greg Maples said he sides with the mayor’s decision to remain in the current tier. He said businesses are just starting to see economic recovery, and going back would further hinder their operations.

“While restaurants are filling up and things are starting to happen for the positive, the hole in depth and lack of money is very deep,” Maples said. “It’s going to take a long time to fill that up.”

Permitted outdoor youth supports will still be allowed to resume on Monday, April 12, along with permitted outdoor adult league sports on Monday, April 19.

Residents can call the City information hotline at (808)-768-2489 or email covidresponse@honolulu.gov for questions and more information.

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