HONOLULU (AP) – Most counties in Hawaii on Tuesday said they would allow restaurants and bars to operate at 100% capacity and eliminate the requirement that groups sit at 6 feet (1, 83 meter) in restaurants as the state relaxes some restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But Gov. David Ige told a press conference with mayors that he would continue to require travelers from other states to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to avoid 10 days of quarantine at their arrival.
Ige said viral activity continues to be significant in Hawaii by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards. He noted that the state has averaged around 100 new cases a day lately and it wouldn’t take much for those numbers to rise sharply.
âWe’re in a better place than three months ago, but we’re still not done with the pandemic,â Ige said.
When asked when he plans to lift the requirement that people wear masks in indoor public places, the governor said medical professionals, including the director of the health department of the State, Dr Libby Char and state epidemiologist Dr Sarah Kemble told him that wearing masks reduces the spread of the virus.
He also relayed that governors of other states had told him they regretted abandoning mask warrants in their states because they believed it was contributing to the flare-ups.
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âWe are seeing outbreaks all over Europe. We are seeing surges in South Korea, New Zealand and other international destinations. So we know that when we let go of our guards, we can see an increase in cases, âIge said.
County rule changes become possible as Ige said he would allow a statewide rule governing restaurants, bars, gyms and social gatherings to expire on November 30. The governor said after that point, counties would be responsible for their rules.
Honolulu, Maui and Kauai counties have said they will not impose new restaurant rules after the statewide directive disappears, allowing restaurants to return to full capacity and when distancing requirements expire.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said guests will need to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said he would announce new rules in the coming days.
Sarah Blane, chief of staff to Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami, said she expected Kauai to update its rules on social gatherings next week.
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