Stuck in their cars, soccer parents call on city to allow them to watch play from field

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 10:21 PM HST
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WAIPIO, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Youth soccer teams were out on the practice fields at the Waipio Soccer Complex Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, their parents watched — sitting in their vehicles parked next to the field.

“We’re supposed to just drop our kids off and leave the park, actually,” said Marshall Lum, whose son was among those practicing. “They haven’t been telling anything about just parking here and sitting in our cars and watching.”

Under Tier 3 of the city’s reopening plan, organized outdoor sports are allowed, but spectators aren’t.

Lum and other parents have been able to get around the ban by staying in their cars to watch practices and games. Some back their SUV’s up in the parking stall, and then open the back hatch for a view of the field. Others sit in folding chairs in the beds of their pickup trucks.

“We understand the rules, you know. You have to abide by them in order to have your child play. But yeah, it’s a bummer,” said parent Allyson Yoshimura.

Lum was upset enough to start an online petition, asking the city to let the rules regarding outdoor spectators catch up to the other rule modifications.

“You can go in restaurants and dine. You can jump on an airplane and fly in a tube for five hours. You can have a luau. You can go to the beach and have a picnic. Yet you cannot stay in the park,” he said.

Oahu native Mark Pascua, who now lives in Southern California with a soccer-playing daughter, said on the mainland, spectators are allowed.

“They still social distance there, still have their mask on stuff like that. They’re still separated. It’s just that we’re next to the field, we’re able to watch our kids practice,” Pascua said.

About 2,600 people have already signed Lum’s petition, which he plans to give to Mayor Rick Blangiardi next week.

Blangiardi’s administration has been looking at making changes to the tier system, but hasn’t said anything yet about spectators at outdoor sporting events.

Gov. David Ige would still have to sign off on the changes. A spokeswoman for the governor said that he would consult with state health officials and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency when they get a request from Blangiardi, which hasn’t happened yet.

Lum believes his request is simple.

“We’re all adults. This has been going on for a whole year. Everyone’s used to using their masks and social distancing that it’s nothing that we can’t do.”

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