HONOLULU (KHON2) — Despite the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases, New Year’s Eve plans are moving forward, but organizers are asking people to keep up with safety protocol or run the risk of being asked to leave.
Unlike 2020, certain annual New Year’s Eve events are scheduled to go on, like a barge loaded with hundreds of fireworks for the midnight show off the shore of Waikiki in anticipation of the new year.
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People who plan on attending are encouraged to keep their masks on and socially distance.
“We want everybody to be safe, and so we want everybody to social distance on the beach. We want everybody to get in pods and, you know, to be aware of what’s going around them,” said Jim Fulton, coordinator for the Waikiki Improvement Association.
Health officials are also calling for people to use caution as they approach New Year’s Eve gatherings as the state breaks records with its daily COVID case count. On Thursday, Dec. 30, that number surpassed 3,000.
Event promoter Rick Bartalini said they are doing everything they can to keep the New Year’s Eve Bill Maher show as safe as possible.
“They will be removed if they are reckless and lower their masks,” Bartalini explained. “So, I think these people want to be here, these people wouldn’t be coming here if they didn’t feel safe with vaccinated people and a masked audience.”
No drinking or eating will be allowed during the show to ensure people keep their face coverings on.
Meanwhile, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the latest rise in coronavirus cases should compel people to be responsible without the need for more restricitons.
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“We’re not going to impose any further restrictions, we don’t want to close any businesses right now,” Blangiardi said. “We got high vaccine rates, we have Safe Access Oahu as a government regulation, and if you want a statement from the governor what you need to do is get a booster.”