Question: We run a youth indoor sports club and understand that now under Tier 4 we are allowed to resume practices. Are there any rules and regulations (mask-wearing, social distancing, parent spectators, socializing before or after practice etc.) that we need to adhere to? We do not meet in a City & County facility. Most of our students are unvaccinated children under 12 and we want to make sure we follow all guidelines to keep everyone safe.
Answer: Yes, there are many such rules, which you can read in detail at oneoahu.org. Click on the text that says “Reopening Strategy (Honolulu’s Tier System),” and from there scroll down to the link for “Designated Businesses and Operations — Tier 4 Required Conditions.” Once you’ve opened that document (a PDF), scroll to page 23 to find item No. 33, “Indoor organized sports.”
Brandi Higa, a spokeswoman for Honolulu County, confirmed that the rules aren’t limited to municipal government venues — they apply to commercial operations as well.
Among other things, the Tier 4 rules say that indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball may resume practice and competitive play under the following conditions:
>> Face coverings must be worn by all participants and coaches, instructors and staff. “For aquatic sports, face coverings may be removed prior to entering the water.”
>> Socializing is not allowed at the indoor venue before or after the sports activity.
>> Spectators are allowed with restrictions, including that they not exceed 33% of the prepandemic spectator capacity; wear face masks; and not gather in groups larger than 10. Spectator capacity will increase to 50% when the state reaches a 60% vaccination rate; as of Wednesday, the vaccination rate stood at 57.9%.
>> Operators of indoor sports programs must try to deter the spread of COVID-19 consistent with state and federal guidelines, which are extensive. Links to specific recommendations are found within the document, but we’ll mention that they include avoiding bottlenecks at facility entrances and exits; regular screening of staff and participants for COVID-19 illness or exposure; and limiting close contact among athletes who don’t live in the same household, “to the greatest extent reasonably practicable.” For example, “Huddles, high fives, handshakes and similarly unnecessary close contact activities should be eliminated.”
>> Competitive play, tournaments and training are allowed, as an exception to Honolulu County’s general pandemic-era rule on gatherings, although teams are admonished to limit unnecessary mingling or interactions.
Restrictions on indoor sports will continue, with modifications, in Tier 5 (when 60% of the state’s population is vaccinated) and are scheduled to be lifted altogether when 70% of the state’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19.
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