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Restrictions on social gatherings unlikely to be eased on Oahu by Thanksgiving, mayor says

Updated: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:46 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Oahu is unlikely to move to Tier 3 by Thanksgiving, which means gatherings for the holiday can’t have more than five people.

“We all hope we can get to Tier 3 by Thanksgiving,” Caldwell said, speaking at a news conference at the Waikiki Shell on Monday. “It’s going to be really difficult if not impossible.”

To get to Tier 3, Oahu has to have a seven-day average of 20 to 49 cases daily and a positivity rate lower than 2.49%. Oahu’s current seven-day average is 76 and its positivity rate is 2.9%.

Health experts locally and nationally are urging people not to hold big gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday and opt instead for celebrations with your household members or virtual get-togethers.

Under the city’s tiered reopening plan, Oahu is currently in Tier 2.

Tier 2 allows social gatherings of up to five people.

Meanwhile, Tier 3 limits gatherings to 10 people, while Tier 4 (with the fewest restrictions) allows get-togethers of up to 25 people.

Caldwell also expressed concern that Oahu could “snap back” to Tier 1 ― with the strongest restrictions ― if gatherings over the holidays trigger a spike in new infections.

“Thanksgiving is probably one of our favorite holidays. It’s about gathering with your closest family and friends. It’s going to be really hard not to do that,” he said.

But, he added, 'there’s still a lot to be thankful for" and urged people to “hunker down.”

“Please always wear your face coverings everywhere,” he said.

Meanwhile, Caldwell also urged residents to participate in the city’s so-called “Surge Testing 2.0 program” is continuing islandwide. Free tests are being offered in spots around the island, including at the Waikiki Shell. To find a free test and sign up, click here.

This story will be updated.

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