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VIDEO: Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announces Oahu’s move to Tier 3 of reopening metrics

  • COURTESY Mayor Rick Blangiardi

    Mayor Rick Blangiardi provides update on Oahu's reopening strategy.

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Updated 6 p.m.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced this evening that Gov. David Ige has approved the city’s move to Tier 3.

Under the amended Emergency Order, Oahu will move to Tier 3 at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Tier 3 allows some of the following activities and operations:

>> Restaurants: groups of 10 people allowed regardless of household/living unit, and the capacity limit of 50% of legal occupancy is eliminated

>> Social gatherings of up to 10 people allowed

>> Certain real estate operations allowed to operate with groups up to 10 people

>> Retail and service businesses groups up to 10 allowed, and the capacity limit of 50% of legal occupancy is eliminated

>> Spiritual services groups up to 10 allowed, and the capacity limit of 50% of legal occupancy is eliminated

>> Funerals will be allowed to operate with up to 25 people

>> Gyms and fitness facilities allowed to operate indoors at 50% capacity

>> Indoor group physical activity classes allowed with no more than 10 people

>> Other commercial attractions, groups of 10 allowed indoors and the capacity limit of 50% of legal occupancy is eliminated

>> Commercial recreational boating allowed with 50% capacity

>> Helicopter tours allowed with groups up to 10, and the capacity limit of 50% of legal occupancy is eliminated

4:40 p.m.

Oahu residents may be able to have larger gatherings by Thursday after Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s announcement today to move the island to Tier 3 of its reopening strategy.

Under the less restrictive level, people would be allowed to dine in groups of up to 10, have funeral services of up to 25 and attend group fitness classes indoors with up to 10 participants. Gym capacity would increase to 50%. Restaurants and spiritual services could operate at full capacity as long as establishments maintain 6 feet distancing.

“We will officially move to Tier 3, and with that comes a really nice relaxation in rules and restrictions that have been imposed on us all these many months,” Blangiardi said.

“With that comes a lot of relief.”

Gov. David Ige would still need to approve the move to Tier 3 which could happen in less than 24 hours. However, an administration spokeswoman said the governor’s initial response usually results in a back-and-forth discussion. Even if both parties reach an agreement, it would not mean the changes would be immediate.

Blangiardi said he submitted the request to the governor on Monday.

In addition, Blangiardi plans to submit another request to modify the Tier 3 restrictions to allow for organized sports among other adjustments that have not yet been made public.

The move comes after Oahu’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases remained below 50 for two weeks and its seven-day positivity rate stayed under 2.5%. The metrics do not count infected inmates at correctional facilities.

According to the weekly Hawaii COVID-19 vaccine summary released Monday, 13.6% of the public have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 59% of those ages 75 and older have received at least one dose.

However, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii President Hilton Raethel warned Oahu residents to not let infection controls such as social distancing fall to the wayside, despite the loosened restrictions.

“If people remain vigilant in wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, washing their hands, and sign up for vaccination when their turn arrives, we are confident we can remain in Tier 3 without creating an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, and without regressing to Tier 2,” he said.

“We applaud the people of Hawaii for what they have been doing and continue to do, and encourage them not to let their guard down.”

The county has been in Tier 2 of the reopening plan since October.

To move into Tier 4, the final stage of Oahu’s reopening plan, the island’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases wound need to remain under 20. Its seven-day positivity rate would also need to be below 1%.

Tier 4 would allow gatherings of up to 25 people and organized team sports.

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Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is expected to announce Oahu’s move to Tier 3 of its reopening strategy, which could go into effect as early as Thursday.

Under the less-restrictive level, people would be allowed to dine in groups of up to 10, have funeral services of up to 25 and attend group fitness classes indoors with up to 10 participants. Gym capacity would increase to 50% and spiritual services, retail businesses and other attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo could operate at full capacity.

The move to Tier 3 would come after Oahu’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases remained below 50 for over two weeks, and its seven-day positivity rate stayed under 2.5%. The metrics do not count infections at correctional facilities.

Today’s seven-day average case count for Oahu is 29 and the seven-day average positivity rate is 1.1%, according to Blangiardi.

Gov. David Ige would still need to approve the move to Tier 3, which could happen in less than 24 hours after the announcement.

However, an administration spokeswoman said the governor’s initial response usually results in a back-and-forth discussion. Even if both parties reach an agreement, it would not mean the changes would be immediate.

Oahu has been in Tier 2 of the reopening plan since October.

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