Oahu enters Tier 4, easing more restrictions as vaccinations increase

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Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 8:17 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu is now in Tier 4 of a revamped reopening plan, with the fewest restrictions in place in over a year and a pathway to no restrictions once a 70% vaccination target is hit.

“We’re almost there. Let’s get there,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, speaking to reporters on Friday afternoon. “This is going to be the hard part ― down the home stretch.”

He added: “Now we’ve come to the long-awaited Tier 4 and we’re in a different place than we’ve ever been before. We’re also looking at a broader definition of public health ... which has everything to do with economic recovery.”

[Related: Need to know: Under Tier 4, nightclubs can reopen and concerts are in the cards]

The move to Tier 4, announced Friday morning, was effective immediately. And the changes are significant, allowing social gatherings of up to 25 people outdoors, giving nightclubs the green light to reopen at 50% capacity if attendees are tested or show proof of vaccination, and providing a framework for large events ― including concerts and conventions ― to be held.

After hearing the news Scarlet Honolulu owner Robbie Baldwin said the club will reopen on June 25.

Baldwin said he understands his workers will have to ask each customer entering the business for a negative COVID-19 test result, taken within 48 hours of entry, or for proof that they’re vaccinated.

Scarlet Honolulu prepared to reopen June 25
Scarlet Honolulu prepared to reopen June 25(None)

“We’ll be checking vaccine cards just like we check IDs at the door,” he said.

“We have some technology on our website that you can register, before you come in. We will be looking at that to see if we can upload the vaccine cards to that.”

But Blangiardi said currently, that is not an option. Patrons have to have the vaccine card on them to enter. Blangiardi acknowledges, though, enforcement is unlikely.

“We’re just going to trust in businesses,” Blangiardi said. “If there’s a cluster or something happens, we’re going to close it down.”

Under the Tier 4 system, indoor sports can restart, too.

Kevin Asano prepares to reopen Leeward Judo Club
Kevin Asano prepares to reopen Leeward Judo Club(None)

Olympic silver medalist Kevin Asano started piecing together the floor mats of his judo club, which shut down in March 2020.

“The kids really wanted to get on the mat and after over a year of not being able to do judo, they’re very excited,” Asano said.

Members had been doing remote workouts or socially distance exercises in a park during the past 14-months.

In another major update, the revamped tier system incorporates vaccination rates.

Oahu will get to Tier 5 ― with even fewer restrictions ― when the vaccination rate hits 60%. And as the governor pledged last week, all COVID restrictions will go away when 70% of residents are vaccinated.

As of Thursday, 54% of Hawaii’s population was fully vaccinated.

[Read more: Governor defends push to reach 70% vaccination rate before ending restrictions]

In a statement earlier Friday, Blangiardi urged people to get the shot if they haven’t already.

“We continue to make solid progress as a community in our fight against COVID. At this point, vaccinations are key to easing restrictions, and hopefully ending the tier system altogether,” he said.

Here are some of the major changes under Tier 4:

  • Social gatherings outdoors of up to 25 people are now allowed.
  • Indoor gatherings are allowed with up to 10 people.
  • Indoor organized sports are now allowed with spectators up to 33% capacity.
  • Social establishments, like clubs and karaoke bars, can finally re-open at up to 50% capacity if all attendees are tested or show proof of vaccinations
  • Outdoor weddings of up to 200 people are now allowed.
  • Indoor events ― including concerts, meetings and conventions ― are allowed with a mitigation plan and 50% capacity if all attendees are tested or show proof of full vaccination.
  • Large outdoor events are allowed with a mitigation plan and capacity can be higher if attendees are tested or provide proof of vaccination.

When Oahu gets to Tier 5, gatherings of up to 75 people will be allowed outdoors and restaurant capacity will increase.

For a full list of tier modifications, click here.

Detailed rules for businesses under Tier 4 are available by clicking here.

This story will be updated.

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