After giving tourists the “everything is clear” signal to resume their visit to Hawaii from Nov. 1, Governor David Ige delved into details yesterday and clarified when other restrictions on the islands could be lifted.
Speaking to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Ige explained what the next few months could bring in terms of lifting (or not lifting) the restrictions. Here are the main points to remember:
The aim is to reduce restrictions by the end of the year.
If all goes according to plan, Ige’s target date to reduce or remove some of the restrictions is “end of the year.” This affirms that the restrictions currently in place will be in effect throughout the next holiday season.
The term of the inner mask depends on the daily infection rate.
One of the most significant revelations in Ige’s comments is that he bases his continued restrictions on the daily infection rate. As of this writing, the statewide average of new daily COVID-19 infections is 121.
Ige said if that number drops below 100 and stays there, he would consider dropping the indoor mask mandate.
Restaurant capacities are also linked to the daily checkout average.
Currently, restaurants are capped at 50% occupancy on Oahu and Maui. Ige said if the daily average reaches and stays below 100, he would consider lifting those restrictions.
Recently, bars in Oahu were granted extended hours of operation and were allowed to serve alcohol until midnight. Previously they had to close at 10 p.m.
Large events, such as the Honolulu Marathon, will be permitted.
Ige gave the green light for the Honolulu Marathon to take place in December, stressing that it is an outdoor event and will be smaller than usual due to the lack of Japanese tourists. .
This was an important statement as large outdoor events are always under surveillance on the islands. For example, University of Hawaii football games, which take place away from home, are still limited to 1,000 participants by Ige’s own orders.
The details remain unclear, and we’ve seen it before …
It’s great news to hear Ige say that he will consider lowering the restrictions, and even better for him to set specific criteria. However, we’ve seen this sort of thing before.
In fact, this discussion comes shortly after Ige reneged on a previous promise to eliminate the Safe Travels program, which requires visitors and returning residents to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for avoid quarantine, once the vaccination rate of the population reaches 70%.
So while we are excited to see a new set of criteria, we have to accept the fact that things can change, and are likely to change. We will of course stay on file and provide updates along the way.