HONOLULU (KHON2) — In just four days the last of our state and county COVID-19 restrictions will come to an end. Masks will still be required on public transportation like on buses, airplanes, and in airports, but no longer in other indoor facilities.
That means more opportunities for big events, but for parents of young kids who can’t yet be vaccinated, that also means tough decisions about how to proceed.
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If you have keiki in your life, you’ve probably noticed that birthday parties are once again a thing. Some of Honolulu’s biggest venues for kids aren’t quite ready for large events just yet, even as COVID-19 recedes.
The Honolulu Zoo is planning on looking at phasing back in large events after this month.
“I think everything will be turning more back to how it used to be where you have major events and different things going on,” Honolulu Zoo Director Linda Santos said. “I think one of the big issues for us is we still want to protect our animals.”
Even when the state-wide mask mandate ends on March 26 the Honolulu Zoo is asking customers to be courteous to animals who are susceptible to COVID-19. Those animals, like primates and cats, haven’t gotten their vaccinations yet.
Animals can get severe cases of COVID. The zoo lost its male lion Ekundu to the virus in 2021.
“It’s been slow to roll out there’s a lot of zoos waiting to get the vaccine,” Santos said. “As you can understand, like how COVID started for humans, the vaccine took a while to roll out so it’s the same for the animals.”
The Waikiki Aquarium celebrated a birthday this past Saturday, 118 years in business, but have yet to open up to large private events.
“We did have a bunch of people come to celebrate our 118th so business is starting to pick up a little bit,” Waikiki Aquarium Volunteer Coordinator Chessa Caparros said.
Even though many of the aquarium’s exhibits are indoors, they will be removing mask requirements on March 26.
“We’re going to be following the state and all of the public health officials,” Caparros said. “We’re going to be taking away the masks, but of course, they will be optional, right? So it’s whatever the public feels comfortable in doing.”
Local mother Shana Joy’s son Kainalu is a big fan of the aquarium.
“We come here a few times a week,” Joy said. “We love it here we live right across the street.”
She won’t have a problem with him coming back when masks are optional.
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“Yeah definitely we’ll come here with or without masks,” Joy added. “To be honest we’re actually pretty excited not to have to always wear the mask. It’s pretty constricting.”