Pressure to further ease COVID rules mounts as cases decline

No new restrictions are in the works for Oahu, Mayor Rick Blangiardi said.
Published: Feb. 6, 2022 at 5:58 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2022 at 10:47 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the Omicron surge begins to wane in Hawaii, the pressure to ease COVID restrictions is mounting.

The state Sunday reported 916 new cases ― the first time since Dec. 22 that the daily case count dipped under 1,000.

“We are seeing a decline in our hospitalization numbers, our cases counts are coming down, the number of people in ICUs is certainly manageable,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

Earlier this week, the city’s restrictions on large gatherings of 1,000 or more lapsed and the mayor said no new restrictions are planned.

“At this point right now we don’t have any restrictions in place other than Safe Access Oahu. We’re going to continue with that program probably for the foreseeable future,” said Blangiardi.

While the statewide indoor mask mandate will likely be in place for a while, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said other COVID rules such as the restrictions on hospital visits could go away soon.

“I would expect in the next one to two months, the government will feel comfortable to get rid of most restrictions,” said Green.

“Safe Travels will eventually go away.”

The state’s Safe Travels program requires visitors to show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test to avoid the 10-day quarantine.

But on April 1, much of the federal support for the Safe Travels program lapses.

If the federal support isn’t renewed, the state would have to come up with additional money and manpower, placing a huge financial burden on the state to keep the program running.

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