Mayor Rick Blangiardi today extended the restrictions for large gatherings, which allow 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, until October 19th.
He also abolished the previous tier system and instead said he will base decisions off of a more broad set of parameters that prioritize hospitalization capacity.
Blangiardi’s previous adjustment to the tier system prioritized vaccination rates. In July, the tier system would have allowed restrictions to loosen if 70% of residents were vaccinated. However, that was before the Delta variant, which is more contagious than the original virus, began spreading on the island and COVID-19 patients began overwhelming hospitals.
“Everything shifted on that level,” he said during a press conference today at the Mission Memorial Auditorium.
“We’re going to base our decision making going forward on whether or not we lift that suspension, or what time we do it—right now we’re doing it for 28 days— it all be predicated on a broad set of conditions lining up with public health. But the key metric will be our hospitals.”
The new system that will dictate when restrictions are lifted is the Safe Oahu Response Plan. While Blangiardi did not have any definitive thresholds that would trigger the lifting of restrictions, he said hospitalizations would need to be “well below 200.”
There are currently over 300 people hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection statewide.
However, one of the first restrictions Blangiardi is looking at lifting is allowing spectators at University of Hawaii football games.
“Just having watched the UH football game this past weekend with nobody in the stands, that obviously comes to mind. I know they have our next homecoming game on October 2nd,” he said.
“We’d like to get to a place where we feel like we’re back, and we’re doing really well the efficacy of the drug is proven. And so we’ll we’ll evaluate all of that when the time comes.”
Watch a replay of the press conference via the video above, or go to Mayor Blangiardi’s Facebook page.