With vaccination rates increasing in Hawaii, things are continuing to change. One of the latest changes includes Oahu’s Reopening Strategy. As a result of the changes, Oahu moves to tier 4 of its reopening strategy.
Oahu’s reopening strategy got a half-assed change. Tiers 1 thru 3 are what they’ve always been and continue to be based on new infection rates and test positivity rates. However, this is no longer the case for Tier 4. Plus, there are now two new tiers too. But before we go over those new tiers, let’s talk about Oahu’s move to Tier 4.
Oahu Moves to Tier 4 of Reopening Strategy
Under Oahu’s revised Reopening Strategy, the requirements to enter Tier 4 changed. Instead of being based solely on new case rates and test positivity rates, Tier 4 and the other new ones add a vaccination criterion. So, moving forward, Tier 4 requires an overall vaccination rate of 50%, a seven-day average new case rate of less than 20% per day, and a test positivity rate of less than 1%. Interestingly, Oahu is currently at a vaccination rate of 47%, is seeing an average of 25 new cases per day, and test positivity rate of 1%. So, why are we did we move to Tier 4 last Friday? I’m not sure. Ask Mayor Rick Blangiardi. That said, here are Oahu’s current restrictions under Tier 4:
- Outdoor social gatherings of up to 25 people are now permitted, though indoor remains at 10
- Indoor organized sports are ok once again, with spectator capacity limits of 33%
- Capacity limits for commercial boating are now gone, except when eating/drinking are involved – restaurant/bar restrictions apply instead.
- Social establishments such as karaoke and “nightlife” can go up to 50% capacity.
- Outdoor wedding with up to 200 people are now allowed
- Indoor events such as concerts, conferences, etc. can resume with capacities of up to 50%
- Outdoor venues with defined capacity limits can go up to 33% capacity with mitigation plans – 67% when everyone is vaccinated or tested
- Outdoor venues with no capacity limited can go up to 30 people per 1,000 square/feet – 60 people 1,000 square/feet if everyone is vaccinated or tested
- Arcade capacity limits are gone
- Road races and triathlons can resume with permits.
Oahu’s new Tier 5 does away with requirements for new infections and test positivity rates. Instead, the only requirement is that 60% of Oahu’s population gets vaccinated. The last and final tier – if you can call it that – is the complete lifting of restrictions. Unsurprisingly, that occurs at a 70% overall vaccination rate, which is in line with the state’s requirement for reopening.
It’s worth noting that Tier 5 is largely the same as Tier 4. Changes primarily revolve around capacity limits. The biggest change, of course, comes to indoor capacity limits. In most instances, we’re seeing these jump from 10 to 25 – they’ve been at 10 since Tier 3.
Oahu Moves to Tier 4 of Reopening Strategy, Final Thoughts
It’s great to see Oahu move up to Tier 4 of its Reopening Strategy. However, I don’t understand why we moved when we don’t even meet the requirements. What are the requirements even for, then? But, Mayor Blangiardi doesn’t have a good record of following pandemic-era rules. What’s more, these increases in capacity limits don’t do much for restaurants. In fact, most say that the social distancing requirements mean that, despite higher limits, they still can’t allow more people in. They’re absolutely right about that. Though, I do get why the social distancing limits remain. Just last week, the Department of Health reported that a cluster of new infections emerged from an outdoor grad party. The party had no social distancing and no masking, per Hawaii’s updated rules. What’s more, two fully vaccinated attendees tested positive.
At any rate, I sincerely hope Hawaii reaches our 70% goal soon. It’ll be great to be able to return to normal once again with minimal risk of infection.