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O?ahu's Tier 3 Modifications Approved, Eases Restrictions On Sports, Bars, And Funerals

Cheryl Holt from Pixabay

Governor David Ige approved Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi's request to loosen restrictions under O?ahu's Tier 3. Blangiardi announced a series of modifications Thursday that include the restart of organized sports and reopening of bars.

"Our youth sports will be available to start on April 12," Blangiardi said during a press conference. "But we're not going to have big regattas yet, or, for that matter, any tournaments."

Blangiardi also announced organized adult sports will be allowed a week after on April 19. 

Under the original system, sports was in Tier 4. That required a weekly average of less than 20 new reported cases and a positivity rate of less than one percent for 14 days. 

But community demand for the return of youth sports grew in recent months. Council member Andria Tupola introduced a measure in January to create a stakeholder group after several other states were able to safely restart high school athletics. The City Council approved the measure later that month.

While practices and games will be permitted starting next month, there are still safety mandates players and coaches will have to follow.

"We're going to ask that no spectators and no potlucks take place," Blangiardi said. "We're also going to require face masks in those sports, where its appropriate. So that's going to be true for all the participants and coaches."

Players and coaches will also have to be physically distanced on the sideline, if it's possible.

While sports is slated to return next month, there are restrictions that are being lifted, effective immediately. One of them is the reopening of bars, which have been closed for seven months.

According to Blangiardi, bars will be allowed to operate in the same way as restaurants. Groups will be limited to 10 people, and physical distancing between tables must be observed. 

And the curfew of alcohol sales is now pushed to midnight, rather than 10 p.m.

Live events, such as graduations and seminars, will now be allowed. But they must be held in large venues, such as the Convention Center, and physical distancing measures must be observed.

And funeral services will no longer have capacity limits, which was previously limited to 25 people.

Blangiardi says he expects residents to observe and follow the modification mandates, rather than have police enforce the rules.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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