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Ige sets statewide ‘vaccination benchmarks’ for easing restrictions on restaurants, gatherings

Hawaii restaurants won’t be able to move to 75% capacity until at least 6 in 10 residents are...
Hawaii restaurants won’t be able to move to 75% capacity until at least 6 in 10 residents are vaccinated, the governor announced Monday.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 3:44 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 4:08 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii restaurants won’t be able to move to 75% capacity until at least 6 in 10 residents are vaccinated, the governor announced Monday.

At a 60% vaccination rate, restrictions on social gatherings will also be eased: Groups of 25 people will be allowed indoors while 75 people will be allowed to gather outdoors.

Those restrictions don’t apply to structured events, including weddings.

The governor made the announcements Monday, saying the “vaccination benchmarks” were meant to dovetail with his plan to ease travel restrictions as more residents roll up their sleeves.

[Read more: Here’s what you need to know about how travel restrictions are easing]

He also reiterated his previous pledge that once Hawaii gets to a 70% vaccination rate, all restrictions will end. Health experts have predicted Hawaii could reach that milestone by late summer.

Right now, 53% of all residents are fully vaccinated while 60% have gotten at least one dose. To reach a 60% vaccination rate, roughly 100,000 more people will need to be fully vaccinated.

The effort to ease capacity restrictions on restaurants and gatherings comes as other states are reopening fully ― something the governor has pushed back against.

Restaurateurs have noted that the 50% capacity restriction is particularly harmful for their businesses at a time when visitor arrivals are way and have pleaded with the governor to re-evaluate the issue.

Maui’s mayor also recently asked the governor to push restaurant capacity levels to 75%, citing the increase in visitor arrivals and push to reboot the economy. That request was denied.

Also on Monday, the governor signed his 21st emergency proclamation on COVID-19, officially ending inter-island travel restrictions on June 15.

The proclamation also extends the eviction moratorium through August 6.

This story will be updated.

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