Oahu Moves to Tier 3, Pandemic Restrictions Loosened

In response to reduced COVID-19 infections, Oahu moved to Tier 3 of the city’s COVID-19 Reopening Strategy, under Gov. David Ige’s amended Emergency Order. There are four tiers, from most restrictive Tier 1 to the most relaxed Tier 4. Oahu has been in Tier 2 since Oct. 2020.

All businesses must still comply with social distancing and mask covering requirements, but some of the new Tier 3 restrictions include:

  • All essential businesses are allowed to open.
  • Social gathering goes up from 5 (tier 2) to 10 people.
  • Restaurants, visitors attractions are up to 10 people
  • Gatherings at Parks, Beaches, Trails, Camping are up to 10 people.
  • Movie Theaters, gyms, allowed at 50% capacity.
  • Spiritual services: groups up to 10. The capacity limit of 50% of legal occupancy is eliminated
  • Bars and night clubs are still required to stay closed.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said it’s possible more rules could be loosened in the weeks ahead. Blangiardi plans to submit another request to Gov. David Ige to modify the Tier 3 restrictions to allow for organized sports among other adjustments that have not yet been made public.

Lt. Josh Green is also considering more activities to normalize, including the possibility for in-person graduations this May. “We’d like to salvage graduation ceremonies this year,” he said. 

In order for in-person graduations to take place, teachers must be vaccinated and graduation venues must take place outdoors.

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.

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

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