Special events bookings on Oahu pick up speed

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Starting Oct. 20, fans can go to public school sporting events on Oahu, and now that restrictions have eased, it’s been good for the special events industry.

Those in the events industry say this is a significant step toward normalcy and helping the economy and are already looking forward to bigger improvements in the weeks ahead.

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As of Wednesday, Oct. 13, outdoor stadiums and concert venues are allowed up to a thousand people. On Oct. 20, outdoor weddings and other organized events can have up to 150 people.

“Very busy, our phones and our emails just blew up. I think everybody has been waiting for these steps to move forward,” said Stuart Kotake, Catering Sales Director for Marriott’s Waikiki Complex.

Kotake says the Diamond Lawn and Terrace at the Moana Surfrider is in high demand for weddings and corporate events. He anticipates even more bookings from nonprofit groups who can finally have fundraisers in person.

“We’re really longing to have that come back for our charitable organizations our fundraisers, and that’s really a good core part of our business. The other part is really conventions,” he said.

Nonprofit groups say this gives them more options to help them reach their goals.

“Certainly to have human interaction, and to really, in person, kind of get a sense of an organization’s mission — that’s always a lot more helpful,” said Lisa Maruyama, Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations President and CEO.

People who attend the events will have to be fully vaccinated. Kotake says he doesn’t anticipate any problems from that requirement.

“We haven’t gotten a lot of pushback from our clients. They expected it. They understand it. A lot of them celebrate that,” said Kotake.

Also starting on Oct. 20, public schools on Oahu will allow fans on campus to watch sporting events. Parents say this is long overdue.

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“Definitely happy news that we will be allowed back in the stands on the 20th,” said parent Jolene Deponte. “My kids did share with me and my husband that they play for us. We’re their hype team in the stands and that kind of gets them revved up.”

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