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A limited number of fans will be allowed to attend University of Hawai‘i football home games following Governor David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s announcement today.

The new protocol eases COVID-19 restrictions to allow “managed events” to take place, which includes letting spectators attend outdoor entertainment events at 50% capacity, or at a max cap of one thousand people. This protocol will take effect on Oct. 13 and masks and social distancing will be required.

“Just thankful on behalf of our student-athletes,” UHM athletic director David Matlin said in a virtual press conference this afternoon. “To get fans back in the stands, I think this is a great first step.”

This will be the first time the public will be able to attend a Rainbow Warrior football home game since November 2019.

Matlin also stated that the priority list for attendees would be in the following order: friends and family of student-athletes, students, friends and family of the visiting team, and then season ticket holders. 

The UH marching band will be exempt from the attendee count and Matlin does not expect public ticket sales to take place with the limited amount of tickets left over for fans, which Matlin estimates to be about a few hundred, expected to go to season ticket holders and UHM’s corporate sponsors. 

“There will be some tickets going to our season ticket holders,” he said. “A lot of it depends on our final discussions with the visiting teams, that’s why we don’t have the exact number.”

He also announced that there would be no exemptions for the vaccine mandate, including testing or religious forms, and that kids under the age of 12 would not be allowed to attend.

“Hopefully things will open up as we go a little farther down,” he said. “These are our first steps to do this in a healthy and safe manner.”

The first UHM game that will benefit from the change in restrictions would be the Rainbow Wāhine soccer game against UC Irvine on Oct. 14, and the Rainbow Warriors football team’s home game against New Mexico State Oct. 23.

It was also announced that indoor seating entertainment events will be allowed up to 500 vaccinated attendees who would also have to wear masks and practice social distancing, effective Oct. 20. The Rainbow Wāhine volleyball team would be the first University of Hawai‘i indoor sport to have fans under the change, as they play UC Davis at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center on Oct. 29. 

Matlin stated that in conjunction with the water only requirement from the mayor, outside food would be prohibited from University of Hawai‘i sporting events and that they would be working with their concessions partner Sodexo to sell water.