HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige joined county mayors on Tuesday, Nov. 23, to discuss the state’s protocol on capacity limits, masks, the Safe Travels program and more.
The biggest news that came out of the news conference is that counties will no longer need the governor’s approval to issue their own emergency orders effective Dec. 1.
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Ige said, “This is really just the return to the normal emergency situation in which counties are lead and the state provides guidance and support.”
Ige also announced statewide capacity limits at restaurants, social establishments and gym will also be lifted. It will be up to each county mayor to establish their own emergency orders.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he will remove the six feet of social distancing between tables, and customers will be allowed to mingle with different parties once again.
“We are no longer going to require in the restaurants six feet of separation with the tables,” Blangiardi said. “This is going to be terrific for our smaller restaurants, it is the fabric of our communities, it is the fabric of how we live. As the governor said, we need to get people back to work at those restaurants.”
The Manifest owner Brandon Reid said socializing was a huge missing piece for his business.
Reid said, “It became pretty prohibitive, not just on income, but in your ability to entertain guests and keep them, you know, you want them to enjoy their experience.”
During a news conference held earlier on Tuesday, Blangiardi announced that all capacity requirements for live events on Oahu, whether indoors or outdoors, will be lifted on Dec. 1. Blangiardi said live events will also be able to serve food and drink.
“However, if they are going to serve food and drink,” Blangiardi said, “we are going to require them to continue with the Safe Access program. If you are not vaccinated, you are to present a test within 48 hours.”
“We are going to expand attendance to vaccination and testing,” he continued. “We are also dropping all requirements for contact tracing. You don’t have to fill out the forms anymore.”
Wedding planner Julie Aragaki, who owns The Best Hawaii Wedding said, she will be calling her clients to let them know that there will no longer be a county limit starting next month on the number of guests they can invite.
Aragaki said, “Now moving forward, I think it’s going to be good news for them, they can increase their guests list a little bit more.”
Blangiardi advised the public to wear a mask if an event has no food or drinks.
Watch the full news conference below:
Effective Dec. 1, Oahu gyms and indoor exercise facilities will be able to operate at full capacity. Blangiardi said the only requirement is mask-wearing.
“Given the dynamic of what goes on with people sweating and breathing really hard,” Blangiardi said. “This is the only requirement.”
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The statewide indoor mask mandate and Safe Travels program will remain in effect. The vaccination or testing requirement for state executive, county employees, contractors and visitors to state facilities also remains unchanged. Local officials continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.