Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi today announced that indoor and outdoor organized entertainment events will return to 100% capacity for vaccinated residents a week from today, on Nov. 3, 2021. This includes a full capacity of 9,200 people at the University of Hawaiʻi’s Clarence T. C. Ching Stadium, Oʻahu’s largest outdoor venue (excluding Aloha Stadium, which is no longer in use).
UH has five remaining games–two of them at home. “[At] those two home games, the University will be allowed to fill Ching Field if in fact we can get 9,000 people,” said Mayor Blangiardi.
The guidelines call for attendees to be 100% vaccinated. Masking is required. Both indoor and outdoor events will allow water only. No food will be allowed.
Mayor Blangiardi called it the introduction of “a new acceptable norm,” that he said is data driven. He noted that the Department of Health was in agreement with the outdoor guidelines, but there was not an agreement on indoor arenas and indoor venues.
“We are going in a separate direction. The state understands that, and we have accepted full responsibility with the City and County–that if something were to go wrong with what we’re going to talk to you about today, I will accept that responsibility,” said Mayor Blangiardi. “We know what we have to watch out for and what we would do if we have to pivot.”
“Once we hit the Delta variant, we went from being the people pushing (if you will) for a lot of changes. We were modifying the tiers, talking about eliminating tiers–to suddenly doing anything and everything that was in the best interest of our public. And that will be true too, going forward,” said Blandgiardi.
“The time has come for us to move forward,” said Mayor Blangiardi as he announced the new guidelines for Honolulu. “We’re going to take the same model that the University did last week–that’s 100% vaccinated, masking, water only, and no food–but it’s at capacity.” Last Saturday, the capacity was capped at 1,000 fans. With the new guidelines, full capacity is allowed.
Mayor Blangiardi said that when cases surged with the Delta variant in Hawaiʻi, there were earnest discussion about setting up field hospitals. “And at one point, as you all know, we actually packed up three trailer trucks to the morgue because we need that kind of assistance,” he said.
“Those were seemingly only yesterday, very difficult moments. Yet here I am today… before you talking to you about a new acceptable norm,” said Blangiardi.
Mayor Blangiardi said he feels Honolulu is at a point where it can move forward “aggressively.” “What has happened in the month of October has been nothing short of miraculous,” he said. “We’ve had a precipitous decline in our numbers. Our vaccination rates are tremendous. We have the best vaccination rate in the country I believe on a per capita basis.”
John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority responded to Mayor Blangiardi’s announcement to lift capacity restrictions in the City and County of Honolulu.
“Mayor Blangiardi’s decision to ease indoor and outdoor venue capacity requirements on Oʻahu is welcomed news to our community and visitor industry. The timing will allow residents and businesses to more fully enjoy the holidays and is an important step toward our economic recovery and improving the overall experience of being in Hawaiʻi during this festive time of year. We continue to encourage those who can get vaccinated to do so and for everyone to follow the recommended safety guidelines of wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance from others,” said De Fries.
The City and County of Honolulu’s Safe Access Oahu program requires all customers and employees of certain businesses, such as restaurants, bars, gyms and museums, to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter the indoor areas of an establishment.
“I sincerely thank the people of O‘ahu for their tremendous cooperation and caring in our combined efforts to fight back against this deadly disease. It is time to make long awaited positive changes for our businesses and event organizers,” Mayor Blangiardi said in a Facebook post. He pointed towards high COVID-19 vaccination rates, lowered hospitalizations, and a drop in case counts.
“We are within two months of Christmas and the holiday season is before us. We are opening up our venues in a safe and smart manner. We want to especially thank our many businesses, small and large, who have remained patient and cooperative throughout the pandemic. This reopening plan is possible because of everyone’s stellar efforts,” he said.
For more information, visit www.oneoahu.org.
Further details as outlined by the Office of Honolulu Mayor Blangiardi:
The first phase of the Safe O‘ahu Response reopening plan begins Nov. 3, 2021, followed by phase two on Nov. 24, 2021.
On Nov. 3 through the end of the year, both indoor and outdoor seated entertainment will be able to operate at full capacity with 100% of attendees vaccinated and masked. Concessions will be limited to water only. These events include sports arenas and concert venues with assigned seating.
Indoor interactive events are currently not allowed with more than 10 people, however beginning Nov. 3, they will be able to operate at 50% capacity with a maximum of 150 people (including employees). Beginning Nov. 24, they will still be able to operate at 50% capacity, however the maximum number of people will increase to 300 (including employees). Attendees must be vaccinated and masked while not eating or drinking. Employees, contractors, vendors, etc. who are working the event must follow Safe Access O‘ahu guidelines. Food and beverages will be allowed in both phases.
Beginning Nov. 3, outdoor interactive events will operate at 50% capacity, with a maximum of 500 people (including employees). On Nov. 24, they may operate at full capacity of the venue. Attendees must be vaccinated. Employees, contractors, vendors, etc. who are working the event must follow Safe Access O‘ahu guidelines. Food and beverages will be allowed in both phases.
Indoor and outdoor interactive events include traditional events such as weddings and funerals.
Children under the age of 12 are allowed to attend the managed events.
A mitigation plan must be submitted to the City for all of the managed events at https://www.oneoahu.org/mitigation-plan.
Beginning Nov. 3, road races and triathlons will be allowed without capacity limitations. All participants must be vaccinated. There will be staggered starts of groups of 50. Beginning Nov. 24, the staggered start limit increases to 200 participants. Post event gatherings will be allowed under the applicable event category guidelines.
On Oct. 8, the sale of alcohol was extended to midnight. Effective Nov. 3, establishments offering or allowing liquor for on premises consumption may sell, serve, and allow consumption of liquor consistent with their liquor license with normal operating hours.