Oahu’s move to tier 3 on Christmas unlikely unless numbers decrease

Coronavirus

HONOLULU(KHON2) — In a press conference Thursday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Honolulu could move to tier 3 by Christmas but it will take a lot of hard work.

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In early November, there were hopes Oahu could move to tier three for Thanksgiving, but that didn’t happen. Now, with Christmas Eve two weeks away, Caldwell said he is hopeful the community can “dig deep” and bring the numbers down to lift some restrictions for the holiday.

He said shifting to tier three is within reach, but it isn’t going to be easy.

“Every day now counts for the next two weeks, and our first seven day average starts today,” Caldwell said.

The seven day rolling average now sits at 72 cases, with a 2.2 percent positivity rate according to Caldwell.

To move to tier three, the seven-day average case count needs to be below 49 with a positivity rate of 2.49 percent or lower.

“We’re below that for the positivity rate right now so we need to focus on the case average. And we need about 45 cases every day for the next six days to hit the target for the first seven-day average week,” Caldwell explained.

He added that if we do everything right Christmas Eve would be the first day of tier three.

“Which means we could have 10 people gathering in our homes and a lot of other things happening. So it’s really really important.”

Moving to tier three would mean groups of up to 10 could gather, that’s double the current group size limit of five.

It also allows many businesses to accommodate more customers.

Dave & Busters General Manager Andrew Shimabukuro said it would help them exponentially

“It would allow me to bring more of my staff back because obviously we’re going to be busier,” Shimabukuro said.

“And being able to bring 10 people in now, rather than the five, being under tier two. That also helps out a lot because now we can fit 10 people at a table. So it does help tremendously with bottom line figures and getting more of my staff back to work.”

Caldwell said it’s really up to the community

“We need to stay the course,” Caldwell urged.

If cases go up on Oahu, reaching triple digits over a seven-day period, the county could snap back down to tier one, shutting businesses down again. That would be devastating to Hawaii’s already fragile economy and for businesses struggling to stay afloat.

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