Oahu enters Tier 2 of reopening plan, easing more COVID-19 restrictions

Oahu enters Tier 2 of reopening plan, easing more COVID-19 restrictions

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu is moving into Tier 2 of its reopening plan Thursday, easing some COVID-19 restrictions but keeping others in place.

The governor signed off on the city’s new emergency order Wednesday.

It went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, allowing gyms and fitness facilities to resume indoor operations, loosening rules for restaurants, but requiring bars and nightclubs to remain shuttered.

Other highlights of the Tier 2 restrictions include:

  • Social gatherings (including at parks and beaches) are allowed, but they’re limited to five people. Five unrelated people are also allowed to eat at a restaurant in the same party.
  • Gyms and fitness facilities can operate indoors, but must keep capacity to 25%.
  • Retailers must still operate at 50% capacity.
  • Legal short-term vacation rentals are now allowed.
  • Movie theaters can serve food and drinks, but must still maintain 50% capacity.

Lehua Papacsil, general manager of Nico’s Pier 38, was optimistic about the new order ― and the future. “I’m excited to see what happens,” she said. "With tourism coming back a little, I think it’s going to be a little bit more of an increase on business. And that’s exciting.”

But businesses and government leader want to remind the public to remain vigilant, since going back a tier could be possible as soon as two weeks from now.

“It’s always in the back of our mind," said Barnaby Smith, 24 Hour Fitness district manager. "If cases start to pick up again, we could potentially close.”

Smith said his gyms will be open for indoor workouts starting Friday. There will no longer be a reservation system, but the business will be monitoring capacity.

Under the city’s reopening plan, Oahu is in Tier 2 when the seven-day average for cases is between 50 and 100 and the positivity rate is between 2.5% to 5%.

Caldwell: Come Thursday, Oahu moves on to Tier 2

As of Wednesday, the seven-day average for new cases on Oahu was 64. The positivity rate was 2.9%.

There are concerns Oahu will see an increase in COVID-19 infections now that tourism has resumed, with visitors coming to the islands through the state’s pre-travel testing program.

Caldwell said it’s up to everyone to keep cases low.

He pointed out that it’s hard to move forward but easy to fall back if new infections surge. “I don’t want to go back ever again,” he said. “I would like to get down to Tier 3 and I believe we can do it.”

Tier 3 would require a seven-day average of 20 to 49 new cases, and a positivity rate of 1 to 2.49%.

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