Despite COVID-19 levels that would trigger restrictions on businesses and gatherings under Oahu’s reopening plan, Honolulu will maintain current restrictions in Tier 3, Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced on Thursday.

Blangiardi’s administration met with Gov. David Ige and public health experts on Thursday morning to discuss a request from the mayor to modify the tier system metrics, the mayor’s office said in a press release.

Blangiardi and Ige agreed that the island would stay the course in Tier 3 for another four weeks while the county and state work together on a way to incorporate vaccination counts into the tier system.

Mayor RIck Blangiardi looks on with Speaker Saiki during a press conference announcing the repair of streets in Kakaako that were previously privately owned.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi has made clear he doesn’t want to go back to Tier 2. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

This is not the first time Blangiardi has bucked the tier system created by the administration of his predecessor Kirk Caldwell. Blangiardi requested a modification from Ige last month to keep Oahu in Tier 3 instead of a return to Tier 2.

Under Tier 2, social get-togethers would be reduced from 10 people to five; outdoor organized sports, which just resumed, would be shut down again; retail operations and spiritual services would be limited to half capacity; and the capacity of gyms would be reduced from half to a quarter, among other restrictions.

The mayor has also adjusted the Caldwell era rules to allow the reopening of bars, funerals, conventions and outdoor weddings.

Oahu had 60 new cases as of May 4, according to OneOahu.org. The seven-day average is 67 cases, and the test positivity rate is 2.2%.

In a statement, the mayor urged eligible residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The health of Oahu’s residents and economy are directly tied to the resistance of our island community to the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

“The opening of Oahu’s economy depends on a high percentage of our resident population obtaining immunity. We are aiming at a minimum target of 70% of all residents being fully vaccinated. The sooner we get vaccinated, the sooner we can protect our resident population and reopen Oahu’s economy.”

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