Gov. David Ige, along with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson, announced Tuesday that O‘ahu will undergo new restrictions instead of a broad shutdown.
“We have agreed that we need to replace some restrictions here on O‘ahu. The targeted adjustments will be effective midnight tomorrow,” Ige said in a media conference Tuesday.
At midnight, restrictive gathering regulations will be put in place. Gatherings of more than five people are no longer allowed indoors or outdoors. Restaurants cannot have groups larger than five at a single table. Employees are encouraged to work from home as much as possible. Face coverings are now required at all shopping centers and malls, including outdoor ones.
“If you can work from home, we want you to work from home,” Caldwell said.
134 new COVID-19 cases were reported Tuesday, which is much lower than the last few days but still adds to the 3,000 new cases that Hawai‘i has seen in August alone.
124 of the cases are on O‘ahu, 7 on Maui, and 3 on the Big Island. Out of 1,914 tests conducted, the 134 cases reported mean a positive rate of 7%.
The gathering regulations being put into place are called “Act Now Honolulu: No Social Gatherings.” It will remain in effect for at least the next 28 days.
Beaches, parks and bars on O‘ahu will still be shut down, but restaurants, retailers, spiritual organizations, gyms and personal services are allowed to stay open.
“No social gatherings. Be careful,” Caldwell said.
The services that are allowed to stay open are urged to vigilantly monitor customers and patrons to ensure that they continue to wear masks. Spiritual services cannot include wind instruments or singing.
Additionally, the pre-travel testing program will not be implemented at this time due to the surge in cases.
“I am announcing today that we are delaying the start of the pre-travel testing program. It will not begin until Oct. 1 at the earliest,” Ige said.
The pre-travel testing program was expected to start on Sept. 1. The first launch date, however, was planned for August.
The Hawaiian islands currently host nearly 3,400 active COVID-19 cases. There are 205 patients hospitalized statewide, with 39 people in intensive care and 22 on ventilators.
“I would not say we’re through this by any stretch of the imagination,” Anderson said.