/Hawaii Puts New COVID Restrictions on Bars, Restaurants, Gatherings, and More

Hawaii Puts New COVID Restrictions on Bars, Restaurants, Gatherings, and More

Hawaii’s Gov. David Ige imposed capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gatherings, citing a surge in coronavirus cases in the state due in large part to the delta variant, though travel policies remain unchanged.

Capacity has been reduced to 50% for all indoor activities, including in restaurants and bars, Ige said at a news conference on Tuesday. People must remain seated at tables at least six feet apart and masks must be worn at all times except when actively eating or drinking. Mingling will not be allowed.

Additionally, social gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

The restrictions come as Ige said the state has seen an uptick in cases lately with “widespread community transmission.” In July alone, case counts have doubled about every seven to 10 days and the 7-day average is more than 500 new cases per day with a test positivity rate of 7.25%.

Statewide, 68.4% of residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 60.9% are fully vaccinated, according to Hawaii’s COVID-19 website.

“We need to take action and we need to take action now,” Ige said, adding “The delta variant has truly changed the COVID-19 pandemic here in the islands. We have seen increased transmission and we must take action in order that our health system is not overwhelmed.”

While limits on gatherings are being imposed, travel remains unchanged. Ige said he was evaluating the state’s Safe Travels program, but noted visitor cases account for only 1% or 2% of total cases.

Hawaii allows domestic travelers to skip quarantine by showing proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test from a “trusted partner” site.

In June, more than 791,000 visitors traveled to Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. That’s only 16.5% less than the pre-pandemic visitor levels from June 2019, which included both air and cruise passengers.