HONOLULU (KHON2) — Mayor Rick Blangiardi is keeping Honolulu in Tier 2 through mid-March but said, that could change if COVID-19 numbers remain low.

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The mayor decided not to make any changes to Oahu’s reopening plan despite low COVID-19 cases for nearly two weeks and a positivity rate of 1.5% according to the Department of Health, and is extending Tier 2 restrictions for another month.

Mayor Blangiardi said, he is being realistic and wants to manage expectations.

“I don’t want to mislead the public in any way,” Blangiardi said during a press conference early Friday, Feb. 12.

He explained that he is waiting for the incubation period from potential super-spreader events like the Super Bowl and Valentines Day to pass.

State and city officials are walking a fine line between ensuring the public is safe while rebuilding the economy.

He said, he will shift Oahu to Tier 3 before Monday, March 15, if numbers remain low.

“If we can’t get to tier 3 in this current spread, then we absolutely have to relax some of the conditions that we’re imposed in tier 2,” Blangiardi said.

Two areas being considered are bars and Little League sports.

Doraku restaurant manager Kazuma Kitajima said, they agree safety comes first but it means they will have to struggle to make ends meet for another month until changes are made.

“It’s a little disappointing. We definitely thought we’d be out of tier 2 by today,” Kitajima said.

Kitajima said, loosening up the 10 p.m. alcohol cut-off would help their restaurant tremendously.

“I don’t think it should go back to 2 a.m.,” Kitajima explained. “But I think we can definitely relax that till about 11 or 12.”

The 50% capacity rule of Tier 2 has a huge impact on the revenue restaurants are able to generate.

Island Vintage Wine Bar manager Logan Taylor Motas said, they can only seat 13 tables and that means they fill up a lot faster than they otherwise would.

“And that’s been the hardest part — just having to turn customers and maybe future regulars away,” Motas said.

She said, bumping restaurant capacity up to 75% and allowing parties of 10 to dine-in would be a welcome change for them and for customers.

Gyu-Kaku and Ruby Tuesdays CEO Rick Nakashima said, it makes a huge difference during their busy hours.

“It was really common to have a wait for lunch and dinner at most of our restaurants (before the pandemic),” Nakashima explained. “Now we’re running a terribly long wait with half the seats.”

This Valentine’s Day weekend will make things even worse.

“Valentine’s Day is our second biggest day of the year after Mother’s Day. And I suspect it’s gonna be really rough to get a seat. I would encourage you to call and get a reservation,” Nakashima said.

Many restaurants are already booked for dinner during Valentine’s evening, but there are some that still have openings for lunch and breakfast.

Nakashima, Kitajima and Motas all said they will do whatever is necessary to keep customers safe even though the rules have made it challenging for restaurants to survive.

“We want people to feel reassured that the public and the government is doing what’s in the best interest for the people,” Motas explained. “So if we have to go another month (in tier 2), that’s fine. We’ll be okay. And we’ll welcome everyone back once they’re ready.”