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Ige eases rules on outdoor activities at eateries, but social distancing still required indoors

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 2:13 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 3:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Come Nov. 12, the governor will drop all COVID restrictions for outdoor activities at restaurants, bars and gyms.

But social distancing rules when indoors will remain in place.

Gov. David Ige made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday, saying outdoor activities remain a safer option. “We do believe that outdoor activities are significantly safer,” he said.

He said his new emergency proclamation would not impact Oahu’s rules for managed events.

Under the new rules, restaurants, bars and gyms will not have to follow any capacity or social distancing requirements for outdoor activities.

But indoors, the restrictions depend on the county you’re in.

Only counties with programs that require patrons to show proof of a vaccination or a negative COVID test can go to full capacity. Right now, that covers Oahu and Maui County.

Counties without those rules will have to stick to 50% capacity.

However, all restaurants, bars and eateries will have to continue to follow social distancing rules.

Business owners have said that complying with 6 feet of social distancing has effectively slashed their capacity, limiting how many people they can fit into their establishments.

The governor defended keeping the social distancing rules in place, saying that it’s based on CDC guidelines. He acknowledges that social distancing does limit venue capacity.

“It is about finding a balance,” Ige said. “We do think it’s an important part of the mitigation.”

The governor’s to essentially keep restrictions in place indoors at restaurants, bars and gyms is a blow to those businesses ― and comes as Oahu is allowing large professionally-organized events.

This story will be updated.

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