Honolulu relaxes COVID rules, allows venues at max capacity

HONOLULU — Starting next week, Honolulu will allow outdoor and indoor entertainment venues to operate at full capacity with vaccinated attendees, the mayor said Wednesday as he announced the city’s latest measures easing coronavirus restrictions.

Patrons will have to wear masks, Mayor Rick Blangiardi said at a news conference. No food and only water will be allowed, he said.

The change will take effect on Nov. 3, in time for the next University of Hawaii football home game a few days later when the Warriors host San Jose State.

Blangiardi said the city plans to allow the Honolulu Marathon to go ahead on Dec. 12, though the race will be required to stagger the starting times of runners. Competitors will leave the starting line in groups of no more than 200 people at a time, he said.

He expressed confidence that the city was ready to relax its rules, noting Honolulu has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. As of Wednesday, 95% of the population 12 years old and older had received at least one shot.

The mayor said the city still has public safety and public health at top of mind, and it will be ready to tighten restrictions again if COVID-19 hospitalization metrics deteriorate.

“This is about going forward and living with it,” the mayor said of COVID-19.

Honolulu’s COVID-19 cases have dropped from their summer peak when the more transmissible delta variant overwhelmed the state’s hospitals. The seven-day average of new cases has hovered around 70 for the past week, down from more than 600 in August.

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