Gov. Ige looking at allowing fans to attend next UH football game

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — With COVID cases dropping, could there be loosened restrictions? The governor said plans are in the works, including letting some fans attend the next University of Hawaii (UH) football game. He said an announcement could come by the end of the week.

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As COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to drop, Gov. David Ige said he is working with UH to loosen restrictions and could allow up to 1,000 people at Ching Stadium when the Rainbow Warriors host New Mexico State on Saturday, Oct. 23. This will be the first time the new stadium will actually have fans in the stands and will likely be limited to the team’s family members.

“Very excited, pray that it comes to pass, that the governor will make that happen, so we all can go and support our Bows,” said parent Rob Atimalala.

His son is sophomore wide receiver Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala. He still cannot get over missing out on Saturday’s homecoming on Oct. 2 when UH upset the nationally ranked Fresno State Bulldogs.

“I mean last week’s game, that was a game that we definitely had to be there. That was so exciting man!” said Atimalala.

But to be able to watch at the new stadium would make him and many other families feel a lot better. Especially since, like everybody else, they were not able to watch the team play in person in 2020 either.

“We’ve been ready for the last couple of years already. But I know it’s been hard with this COVID going on. But I’m sure there’s protocols we can go through it to make it safe for everyone,” said Atimalala.

The governor said COVID vaccine and testing protocols are being discussed. Loosening restrictions for big events, such as weddings, is also being considered.

Larger, organized events have been allowed in Kauai County for nearly five months. Organizers have to register for the event, submit a safety plan and designate a point of contact.

“It’s been working out fantastic, and what it does is it puts some level of accountability on the organizers of the event and the people hosting the event,” said Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami.

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He acknowledged that such events may be riskier in bigger counties, but mitigation measures have been effective.

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