Hawaii holds on to virus restrictions even as cases plummet

Nov 1, 2021, 3:12 PM | Updated: 3:42 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii remains among the most restrictive states for COVID-19 mandates, despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country.

Various state and county rules have changed often, leaving some businesses, travelers and residents confused and frustrated.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said earlier this year that all restrictions would end once 70% of the population was fully vaccinated. But a surge of delta variant cases filled hospitals and extended rules to guard against COVID-19.

Now, case counts have dropped and about 83% of eligible Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated. But many rules remain in place.

Germaine Malabanan plans to get married on Oahu this month after her wedding was delayed twice because of the pandemic.

Security guards that are required for weddings will make sure her guests are wearing masks even while outdoors, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

“If everyone is vaccinated and we are all outside, I don’t see why we need the masks,” Malabanan said.

The rules also mean unvaccinated guests can’t come. While most venues on Oahu allow proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for admission, regulations don’t allow weddings to use the testing option.

“From what I understand, Hawaii has one of the best, if not the best, turnouts for the vaccine, and we are still one of the most restricted and shut-down places,” said Joseph Esser, a wedding photographer and president of the Oahu Wedding Association.

The wedding rules are part of a complicated set of statewide and county restrictions.

In early July, most U.S. states had scaled back mask and other coronavirus restrictions. The delta variant surge pushed some jurisdictions to reinstate rules, but many are again easing as cases currently plummet.

Ige’s latest 50-page emergency proclamation outlines the various measures.

For example, passengers cannot ride in a private car without a mask unless everyone is a member of the same household or fully vaccinated. People are forbidden from mingling at restaurants and bars. And private indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed.

“We look at many factors before implementing or reducing restrictions,” Ige told the Star-Advertiser in a statement. “Large-scale gatherings could easily and rapidly result in the kind of surge that could force us to reinstate restrictions, which we would like to avoid.”

County rules can vary, and changes need clearance from the governor.

On Oahu, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced last week that some restrictions will relax beginning Wednesday — but some people are still confused.

Masks are not required for participants of outdoor marathons, but they are required for outdoor parties, weddings and funerals.

No food or drinks are allowed at football games, but they are OK in movie theaters.

To go to a concert, people must be fully vaccinated. But to go to a bar, patrons can show a negative COVID test.

Peter Yee, a Maui car rental employee who was laid off last year, said the restrictions have been too harsh on workers.

“People are exhausted from the restrictions,” he said. “That’s the vibe in Hawaii.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Soldiers stand guard as Hindu devotees begin the Amarnath Yatra annual pilgrimage to to an icy Hima...
Associated Press

India Hindus begin pilgrimage in Kashmir amid heavy security

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Thousands of Hindu devotees began an annual pilgrimage Thursday through mountain passes and meadows to an icy Himalayan cave in Indian-controlled Kashmir amid heavy security in the Muslim-majority region. Officials say pilgrims face heightened threat of attacks from rebels fighting against Indian rule and have for the first time tagged devotees […]
1 day ago
FILE - A man walks near an advertisement of a Kirin brand beer in Tokyo on Aug. 25, 2020.  Kirin Ho...
Associated Press

Japan’s Kirin to sell Myanmar Brewery to sanctioned partner

BANGKOK (AP) — Kirin Holdings will sell its shares in Myanmar Brewery to its joint venture partner Myanma Economic Holdings Plc., the Japanese beverage giant said in a statement Thursday. Kirin said the share buyback agreement with MEHL, a company facing sanctions by the U.S. and other Western governments, took into account its employees and […]
1 day ago
A currency trader walks by the screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a fo...
Associated Press

Asia stocks mixed after Wall St down, China manufacturing up

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday after the U.S. economy contracted and China reported stronger factory activity. Shanghai and Hong Kong gained, while Tokyo and Seoul declined. Oil prices advanced. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index edged down 0.1% on Wednesday after data showed the U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter […]
1 day ago
New Zealand Police Minister Chris Hipkins during his press conference at Parliament, Wellington, Ne...
Associated Press

New Zealand designates Proud Boys a terrorist organization

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s government has declared that American far-right groups the Proud Boys and The Base are terrorist organizations. The two groups join 18 others including Islamic State that have been given an official terrorist designation, making it illegal in New Zealand to fund, recruit or participate in the groups, and […]
1 day ago
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Cap...
Associated Press

Cheney to debate Wyoming GOP foes after Jan. 6 hearings

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Liz Cheney is returning to Wyoming after a busy week of hearing public testimony before the House Jan. 6 committee to debate Republican primary challengers including Harriet Hageman, her Donald Trump-endorsed opponent. Cheney will likely draw criticism in Thursday’s televised debate for investigating the former president’s effort to overturn the 2020 […]
1 day ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Hawaii holds on to virus restrictions even as cases plummet