Ige eases the rules for outdoor activities at eateries, but social distancing is still required indoors

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – On November 12, the governor will drop all COVID restrictions on outdoor activities at restaurants, bars and gyms.

But social distancing rules when indoors remain in place.

Governor David Ige announced this at a press conference on Tuesday, where he said outdoor activities remain a safer option. “We believe that outdoor activities are significantly safer,” he said.

He said his new emergency proclamation would not affect Oahu’s rules for managed events.

Under the new rules, restaurants, bars and gyms will not have to comply with capacity or social distance requirements for outdoor activities.

But indoors, the restrictions depend on the county you are in.

Only counties with programs that require patrons to show proof of a vaccination or a negative COVID test can go to full capacity. Right now, it covers Oahu and Maui County.

Counties without these rules must adhere to 50% capacity.

However, all restaurants, bars and eateries must continue to follow the rules of social distance.

Business owners have said that adhering to 6-foot social distancing has effectively reduced their capacity, limiting how many people they can fit into their businesses.

The governor defended keeping the rules on social distance in place, saying it is based on CDC guidelines. He acknowledges that social distancing limits venue capacity.

“It’s about finding a balance,” Ige said. “We think that’s an important part of the mitigation.”

The governor’s essentially keeping restrictions in place indoors at restaurants, bars and gyms is a blow to these businesses – and comes as Oahu allows large professionally organized events.

This story will be updated.

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