Safe O‘ahu Response Plan expanded operations

Mayor Rick Blangiardi is announcing the City and County of Honolulu is improving the Safe O‘ahu Response Plan to allow more flexible operations for businesses, while still requiring Safe Access O‘ahu for higher risk activities only. Starting Dec. 1, 2021, the Safe Access O‘ahu program will only apply to operations and events that serve food and drinks or that have indoor exercise activities. All events, whether indoors or outdoors, must continue to include facial coverings/masks. In addition, no capacity limitations will be placed on businesses or events by the City and County of Honolulu.

“In the spirit of Thanksgiving I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the people of O‘ahu for their strength, determination and cooperation in our fight against the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “Today’s announcements are about getting on the other side of this dreaded disease. We have protected our most vulnerable in our population and we will continue to do so. We are confident in our Safe Access O‘ahu program, and in that regard we move forward again in a thoughtful and responsible manner.”

“COVID-19 is and will be present within our community for the foreseeable future and we need to continue safe practices that have served us well thus far,” said Director Hiro Toiya, Department of Emergency Management. “We urge everyone to continue protecting themselves and others and get vaccinated, have your kids vaccinated, get the booster shot, stay home when sick, get tested and seek treatment if needed, and wear a mask indoors and around crowds so we can continue to move forward while keeping our community as safe as possible.”

“The Hawaii Restaurant Association is grateful for the announcement of more easing of guidelines and mandates,” said Greg Maples, chair of the Hawaii Restaurant Association. “Today’s announcement is more light at the end of a very long tunnel. Many restaurants have been hanging on by their fingertips waiting for the chance to be at full capacity. We are grateful to Governor Ige, Mayor Blangiardi and their staff for the ongoing communication and open-door communication.”

Pursuant to Emergency Order 2021-16, operations such as museums, botanical gardens, aquariums, sea life attractions and zoos are no longer subject to the Safe Access O‘ahu requirement (if they do not serve food and/or drinks for on-premise consumption) as they are lower risk. These activities will continue to require facial coverings/masks.

Establishments such as indoor gyms, fitness facilities, group physical fitness classes and exercise activities, or high risk activities, will continue implementing the Safe Access O‘ahu guidelines and requiring facial coverings/masks. Further examples of these establishments include yoga/Pilates/barre/dance studios, boxing/kickboxing gyms, fitness boot camps and indoor pools.

If an establishment or event serves food and/or drinks for on-premise consumption it is required to follow the Safe Access O‘ahu guidelines, without capacity limitations. This includes restaurants, bars, weddings, movie theaters, shows and sporting events. Attendees are required to wear a facial covering/mask when not eating or drinking.

If an establishment or event does not serve food and/or drinks (excluding water only) for on-premise consumption they are not required to implement the Safe Access O‘ahu guidelines and attendees are only required to wear a facial covering/mask. There are no capacity limitations. This includes all indoor and outdoor sporting events, shows or parades that do not serve food or drinks.

The State of Hawai‘i announced today that it will provide counties with the authority to implement individual protocols over emergency management functions. As such, beginning Dec. 1, the City will not require businesses and events to submit mitigation plans, contact tracing or sign in data. The six foot spacing requirement between tables for restaurants and bars is also being lifted.

In addition, the requirement capping social gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors will be eliminated. The capacity requirements for the individual venue still apply.

A business or event can elect to operate under the Safe Access O‘ahu program or its own restrictions even if not required by the Safe O‘ahu Response Plan.

Current COVID-19 conditions are continuously monitored and safety measures may be reinstated if necessary after consultation with the city and state leadership and emergency response team.

O‘ahu residents are encouraged to visit here for more information and access to resources. The City’s COVID-19 information call center remains open every day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except on holidays. People can call the (808) 768-CITY (2489) information hotline or email: covidresponse@honolulu.gov

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