No fans in the stands: Some islands bring back restrictions for prep sports

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is no fans in the stands once again. High School sports leagues for Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island have opted for no spectators at events until further notice.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino supported the decision of putting public safety first.

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“I think indoor spectator sports is probably off the table for at least the immediate foreseeable future,” said Mayor Victorino.

The change will impact winter sports, including boy’s volleyball, as well as girl’s and boy’s basketball and wrestling.

“They’re trying to do what they can to limit the spread,” said Chris Chun, Executive Director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA). “I mean, the more people that get affected, the greater chance that the seasons get shut down. So, any little thing that they can do to lessen the case counts, I think keeps the kids playing.”

According to the Maui Interscholastic League website, all MIL events will be limited to essential participants only. The MIL will meet weekly to assess and discuss issues or changes.

The HHSAA hopes the COVID cases will come down and does not push back any state tournaments.

“I mean the spring athletes haven’t had a state tournament in two years. So, I mean, to miss a third one would would be really tragic for them,” Chun added.

The COVID surge is also impacting the collegiate level. UH Hilo voluntarily restricted fans in January for women’s and men’s basketball games at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.

On Oahu, the new indoor capacity rule goes into effect on Monday, Jan. 10. The rule will cap large indoor gatherings of more than 1,000 people at 50% — that will slightly impact games for Hawaii athletics.

The big draw right now is men’s volleyball. The Rainbow Warriors claimed the NCAA Championship in 2020 and fans are hoping for a repeat.

“They fed off the crowd, which is really nice to just be in there too,” said Ryan Siu, a UH sports fan. “You know, it was a great feeling for everybody. Hopefully, things kind of slow down and we can get back to, you know, 100% capacity and try to fill those seats as well.”

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

Oahu’s limited indoor capacity for large events is temporary for now and will only be in effect until Jan. 31.

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