Spectators will once again be allowed on the sidelines to watch their family and friends play outdoor sports, a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions that is sure to please parents who have been relegated to their cars as they try to catch glimpses of their kids playing sports like soccer and baseball.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Gov. David Ige made the announcement this afternoon following complaints by parents, as well as U.S Sen. Brian Schatz. The loosened restrictions on spectators apply only to Oahu.
“Outdoor sports have been operating for two incubation periods and I do not believe there are any cases tied to these activities,” Blangiardi said in a press release. “Now that the participants have been allowed to return to play, and done so safely, the logical next step is to allow for spectators.”
Spectators will still be required to wear masks if they are within six feet of people who are not in their household. Groups cannot be larger than 10 people and socializing and potlucks on the court or field before and after the activities are prohibited.
“I know how important this step is to young athletes, parents, as well as their families and friends,” Ige said in a statement. “We believe people know what the rules are and will follow them to keep their loved ones safe, allowing us to resume these types of long-awaited activities.”
Last week, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz sent Ige a letter urging him to lift restrictions on youth sporting events, including rules that prohibited parents from watching their kids play outdoor games.
“We already allow people on beaches, we allow gatherings in bars, and we permit other outdoor activities, but we inexplicably do not allow parents and guardians to watch their own kids play sports outside in the sunshine and open air,” Schatz wrote.
Schatz also urged the governor to reevaluate prohibitions against youth surfing competitions and outrigger canoe races, though the governor has yet to announce any changes.
Schatz, in a statement following today’s announcement called it “great news for families and for public health.”
“Outdoor exercise is just about the healthiest thing that can be done, pandemic or not. And watching your kids play a sport is one of the great joys of life. Lots of families are thankful for this change,” said Schatz. “We look forward to additional announcements regarding ocean sports.”