Oahu stays in current restriction tier despite virus uptick

HONOLULU — Oahu will remain in its current tier for coronavirus restrictions despite a rise in cases that could have triggered a rollback.

Under an agreement between Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Gov. David Ige, the island will remain at the current level of business and social restrictions for at least four weeks, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

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That means larger gatherings can continue and businesses like restaurants and bars can operate at a higher capacity.

Oahu’s coronavirus case count averaged more than 50 positive infections per day for the second week in a row which under the current reopening plan would have meant a return to more a restrictive tier.

The mayor asked Ige to loosen the criteria for its current level of restrictions to a seven-day average daily case count of 50 to 100, one of the current triggers for the more restrictive tier two.

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No formal changes to the tier system have been made, but the governor agreed to allow the island to postpone rollback by a month to see what happens with case counts during that period.

Noting the “profound impact on our businesses, families and community,” Blangiardi said in a statement that “we are focused on the broader definition of health and I believe moving back to Tier 2 at this point would have had a tremendous negative impact on the overall health and economic recovery, including the impacts on livelihoods, jobs and mental and emotional health.”

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