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University of Hawaii fans still barred from attending sports events

  • STEPHEN TSAI / SEPT. 20
                                The stands will remain empty as pictured during a recent University of Hawaii game.

    STEPHEN TSAI / SEPT. 20

    The stands will remain empty as pictured during a recent University of Hawaii game.

After discussion among state and city officials Friday and this morning, fans are still barred from attending University of Hawaii sports events over concerns of coronavirus.

“Unfortunately the answer is still no,” Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said following a Zoom meeting this morning with Gov. David Ige. The governor was not available for comment this morning.

Hawaii Department of Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, state Emergency Management Agency Director Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the mayor’s chief of staff Sam Moku, and city and county legal counsel also attended this morning’s meeting, Blangiardi said.

This request included consideration for next Saturday’s homecoming football game against Fresno State, and is the latest of several proposals for UH to host fans that have been turned down since the government order in late August. According to the mandate, 10 people are allowed indoors and 25 outdoors at certain Oahu events due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

The restrictions, which were extended for a second 28-day period this week, can be adjusted given changing conditions, officials have said.

The school has hoped to host at least a few vaccinated, masked and socially distanced family and friends of student-athletes at its sports events as COVID-19 numbers in Hawaii have declined since a spike in early September.

UH also has a soccer match Thursday at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium and a Rainbow Wahine volleyball match Friday at SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.

UH has already played without spectators this season at its first two football games at the on-campus Clarence T.C. Ching Complex, its first five on-campus home volleyball matches, and home soccer games at Waipio and on campus.

Each home football game at the 9,000-seat Ching Complex can generate around $570,000 in revenue, UH Athletic Director David Matlin said earlier this month. Volleyball matches bring in around $75,000 each. There is no admission charge at UH soccer matches.

UH athletes have not played in front of home crowds since spring of 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions. Hawaii is the only one of the 130 FBS (highest division in college football) teams to not allow fans at home games this season.

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