Gov. Ige, lifts distancing requirements for restaurants, bars starting Dec. 1

Some rules remain in place, but going forward, the county mayors now have more freedom in their policy making.
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:52 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 5:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 20 months after his first COVID-related emergency proclamation, Gov. Ige eased COVID rules across the state Tuesday.

Starting Dec. 1, there will be no state limits on social gatherings and capacity limits on restaurants, bars and gyms. Previously, state rules were 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. Capacity limits were lifted, however the six-foot social distancing requirements remained.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi confirmed social distancing requirements are going away for those businesses, and mingling among patrons is allowed. However, they should be wearing masks while not actively eating or drinking.

Also starting Dec. 1, the governor will no longer require county mayors to obtain state approval before enacting emergency rules. County mayors will now be responsible for their own regulations respective to their counties.

Gov. Ige applauded the efforts of Hawaii residents to get the pandemic under control, saying, “We know that we have all had to make sacrifices. We have put our personal luxuries aside in order to protect the health and safety of our community.”

Some mandates, however, remain in place. This includes the Safe Travels program for mainland, and international travelers, and the indoor mask mandate.

While announcing the ease in rules, Gov. Ige also acknowledged the state’s COVID death toll, which is now at 1,002 as of Tuesday.

“The sacrifices we have all made have prevented even further loss of life,” Gov. Ige said. “Hawaii continues to have amongst the lowest rates of infections and fatalities in the nation due to this COVID-19 pandemic.”

Vaccine or negative testing requirements will also remain in place for state executive and county workers, as well as state contractors and visitors.

This comes the same day as Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced significant easing of rules for large events.

[Read more: Blangiardi eases COVID restrictions, allowing all large events to operate at full capacity]

While distancing requirements will no longer be in place, Oahu restaurants, bars and gyms will still be under the Safe Access program, meaning proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required.

Maui’s Mayor says rules for valley isle restaurants will be similar to Oahu.

“For the restaurants, we’re going with the same rules. No 6 foot distancing, 100% capacity and as long as they’re either vaccinated and or tested coming to the establishment, they can sit in the establishment,” said Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino.

Hawaii county Mayor Mitch Roth says he needs to meet with the community and hospitality industry... and that updates to county rules will be made in the coming days.

“I’ve agreed to meet with some community people and some people in the hospitality industry as well so while we have some ideas of what we’re going to do, rather than come out with those ideas, I still have some people I want to listen to,” said Roth.

Kauai county says it will continue rules for professionally managed events and limits on social gatherings, but no other rules are expected.

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