Social gatherings at homes prohibited, movie theaters set to reopen

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — New restrictions aimed at limiting gatherings went into effect on Thursday, Aug. 20 as case numbers remain in the hundreds on Oahu.

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Groups more than five are prohibited at restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and households. The new order also requires face coverings in public and asks people who can work from home, to work from home.

Honolulu’s latest order has left many large families wondering if a nanny, tutor or caregiver can come to their home or if family members can come over.

According to the City and County of Honolulu, home-based care for children, adults and seniors is exempt from the rule, therefore caregivers can come over and assist, but family members wanting to see other family members should only visit a family’s home if they are bringing essential items such as groceries, pet supplies, and/or medicine.

On Aug. 20, KHON2 asked Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green if the new order was enough.

“It remains a concern because people now hear different messages; you can go to a restaurant with a group of five, but you can’t be home with a group of five, it’s a little bit elitist,” Green said.

He said people have reached out to him with concerns. “Because people want to see friends and loved ones in tiny numbers when they’re in their bubble and that’s been historically safer.”

Restaurants remain open, while bars are still closed.

The mayor’s office said groups of five at the theaters must remain six feet apart from other groups and face masks must be worn at all times unless a person is eating or drinking in their seats.

“I love going to the movies more than anyone,” he said. “But it’s a mistake and this idea that the Mayor came up with, with the Governor of having groups no more than five going to the movie it doesn’t make any sense at all. We always were separated with those fancy-pants seats so if you’re going to have a group of five, five, and five, that’s going to cause spread, they should be extremely careful,” he said. “I understand there’s hardship but these are not the 30 days to be doing that.” 

According to theaters, capacity will be reduced inside the theater, reserved seating will leave one to two seats (depending if it’s a reclining seat), apart from other groups, sanitation will be done after each movie and self-service condiments (butter and salt for popcorn) will be closed.

“We’re in the danger zone, no question, and we need everyone to be at home as much as they can and wear masks because these cases are going to surge our hospital numbers,” said Green.

It’s been 12 days since beaches and parks closed on Oahu, and case numbers still remain above 200, Green said that’s a concern.

“The mask order was good, the gathering order was confusing,” he said. “People will use their common sense and I’m sure the best thing we did was decrease the large gatherings and that was 12 days ago and hopefully we’ll start seeing the benefit of that.”

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