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Lawmakers, parents frustrated over governor’s decision to continue ban on fans at UH games

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 10:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just a day before the University of Hawaii’s homecoming football game, parents and other state leaders say the governor’s decision to not allow spectators doesn’t make sense.

While fans are back at both NFL and college stadiums, the Rainbow Warriors are still the only NCAA team playing under empty stands with artificial crowd noise.

On Friday, Gov. David Ige said the ban on spectators will continue for at least another two months

“The virus activity in our community continues to be high so that’s the concern,” said Ige.

However, the governor is facing growing pushback.

“The governor should try to be a little bit courageous about this,” said State House Speaker Scott Saiki.

The house speaker said Ige should allow fans, who are vaccinated with a negative test, into the stands.

“He should be working to basically reopen our state and to get the message clear that that we are normalizing ourselves,” said Saiki.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green also says it’s time to start getting back to normal.

“And I mean that for high school sports for families, for moms and dads and uncles and aunts, and for the UH games,” said Green. “It’s safe if families are vaccinated and wearing a mask.”

“And here we are willing to do everything and still told no,” said UH Football mom, Beth Adams, who won’t get to watch her son play Saturday night.

“I mean, that’s not practical, that’s not even using scientific data, that’s none of it.”

Lolapalooza has shown crowds don’t have to be dangerous.

The July music festival had a 90% vaccination rate among fans and there have been no major outbreaks reported.

However, Dr. Tim Brown, senior fellow of the East-West Center thinks the governor is right to be cautious.

“Remember, people have a much higher viral load with delta. So, they transmit much more easily and that’s extremely important to keep in mind,” Brown said. “So no, I do not consider outdoor crowds to be safe at this point.”

Brown said the return to normal will come, but we shouldn’t rush it.

“Open up with a relatively low number of people in the stands, require vaccination, require masking, ban food and drinks and require social distancing,” said Brown. “Monitor whether or not people are adhering to those requirements during the game.”

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