Oahu to remain in Tier 3 for another 4 weeks as city, state mull changes to tier system

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 6:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city’s tiered reopening strategy will continue unmodified for at least four more weeks ― during which time Oahu will remain in Tier 3, the city announced.

The city said the Blangiardi administration met with the governor this week to discuss a request to modify the tier system, incorporating vaccination levels and other metrics.

But rather than making any immediate changes, the mayor and governor opted to keep Oahu in Tier 3 as the “county and state worker together” on potential changes.

Blangiardi said the decision to remain in Tier 3 was “absolutely” the right one for Oahu for the time being. “We are in a good place, and we want to move forward but right now, we kind of put the brakes on further expansion while we focus on continued vaccinations,” he said.

The mayor acknowledged the bump in cases and hospitalizations. But he said overall, it is not straining the healthcare system.

“I think time is on our side right now. We’ve had four weeks of wait and see from where we’d go. We have seen a slight increase in hospitalizations. We’ve seen some slight increase, obviously in case count,” Blangiardi added.

“The good news is is that we don’t have acute hospital care — people in ICUs. Our numbers remain relatively stable.”

The city said during the discussion with the governor, the state raised concern about COVID-19 mutations that have been identified in the state and other issues.

He urged everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Under Tier 3, most businesses are allowed to operate ― many without any capacity limitations. But social distancing and mask wearing rules are still in place.

Social gatherings continue to be limited to 10 people, with exceptions for weddings and funerals.

The mayor said he won’t likely introduce a new tier system, but talks to modify the existing one are ongoing. “We’re probably going to continue to wear masks for awhile and socially distance but there’s a lot to be said for the power of this vaccine,” he added.

This story will be updated.

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