Hawaii to loosen some COVID-19 rules after new cases decline

HONOLULU — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Tuesday the city plans to allow some activities that were shut down last month to control the spread of the coronavirus to resume under new guidelines.

Beginning Thursday, the city will allow social gatherings of up to five people, including at beaches and hiking trails. Retail businesses will be allowed to open at 50% of capacity.

Caldwell said Gov. David Ige verbally approved the new guidelines, but had not signed them yet.

Restaurants would be allowed to seat up to five diners at a table as long as the patrons provide their names and contact information so tracers can reach them later if necessary. Diners will have to wear masks when they are not eating.

Honolulu again adopted strict restrictions a month ago after cases began to spike after hovering at low levels when the pandemic began. Honolulu’s new daily case count has since declined.

The guidelines call for restrictions to be relaxed further if cases continue to drop.

The city will consider COVID-19 seven-day average case counts and seven-day average percentage of positive tests when determining how loose or restrictive to be.

The city developed the new framework in consultation with state Department of Health epidemiologists and officials.

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