Gov. David Ige has approved a request from Maui Mayor Michael Victorino to temporarily close bars and bar areas within restaurants in Maui County for two weeks due to double-digit increases in COVID-19 cases.
The plan goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday and lasts through Dec. 26.
The temporary closure requires bars with certified commercial kitchens to close off the bar counter areas, but allows them to continue serving food and alcoholic beverages to patrons.
“The Maui District Health Office reported that numerous positive cases are tied to close interactions among patrons in bar settings, and we need to take action to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Victorino in a news release. “This is an initial step. We will continue to closely monitor daily case counts, identify sources of spread and take further action as necessary to protect the health and safety of our residents.”
Recently revised Maui County emergency public health rules also require customers at restaurants and bars to wear face coverings at all times, except when eating or drinking. Employees were and are still required to wear proper face coverings at all times.
Many of the recent new cases in Maui County were connected to people not wearing face masks and having close personal interactions while eating or drinking at bars, according to Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang.
“As the holidays are nearing, let’s remember to diligently follow COVID-19 safety protocols: wearing face masks, physical distancing, avoiding gatherings and frequently washing hands,” Pang said in the news release. “Until a vaccine is readily available, these protocols are our best protection against the spread of this virus in our community.”