HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige signed an executive order on Tuesday limiting social gatherings to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, effective immediately, as state and county leaders look to slow down the surge of coronavirus cases. Cases have doubled every seven to ten days, Ige said.
High-risk businesses, including restaurants, bars, gyms and churches, must be capped at 50% capacity. Schools will not be impacted.
On Tuesday, the Hawaii State Department of Health reported 436 new COVID-19 cases: 292 are on Oahu, 76 on the Big Island, 15 on Kauai, 33 on Maui, three on Molokai and 17 diagnosed out of state. That brings the state total to 46,376. Click here to see the full breakdown.
“We anticipate that it would be four to six weeks to see significant reduction in the case counts we are seeing,” Ige said during the news conference.
After meeting with Ige last week, the mayors say it’s clear that more has to be done to slow the spread of coronavirus. However, they don’t want restrictions to have as much impact on local businesses. The plan is to be more strategic, with less disruption to businesses.
Most of the COVID-19 infections have been community spread from social gatherings. Outdoor gatherings have now been restricted from 75 to 25 people, and indoor gatherings have been knocked down from 25 to 10 people. For professionally structured events larger than 50 people, such as weddings or concerts, organizers may seek consultation from their county leaders.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi sent a statement this week saying, “I would prefer to not impose further restrictions, but we need to get a buy-in from the vaccine holdouts.”
State officials have previously talked about making changes to the Safe Travels Program. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara told the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 last week that there are discussions on reversing the vaccine exception and only allowing the 72-hour pre-test for travelers to avoid having to undergo quarantine. Those plans are on hold. Click here to read more.
Officials continue to stress the importance of testing for those who believe they may have been infected. The health department says there are many sites offering free tests. Click here, then go to the Health Information, then to Testing Isolation and Quarantine. When you put your zip code in, a list of pharmacies will pop up that offer free COVID-19 testing. KHON2 has also compiled a list here.