Correction: A previous version of this story said Mayor Rick Blangiardi had decided to impose new restrictions on social gatherings, including limiting the number of people allowed to gather inside to 10 and outside to 25. In fact, the mayor told the City Council that more restrictions were being considered at the state level but he had not made any decisions. 

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said Friday that right now he has no plans impose further restrictions, including on social gatherings, despite a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Blangiardi said he will discuss the issue with Gov. David Ige later Friday, but he stressed that 960,000 Oahu residents — a majority — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“It’s about responding to the greater good, which is the majority of people, and not imposing restrictions,” he said Friday in an interview with Hawaii News Now. “At this point right now I have no intention of imposing further restrictions, but we’re watching this very carefully.”

Mayor Rick Blangiardi answers media questions about Oahu’s move to Tier 4 outside Honolulu Hale.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said that he and the governor will provide more details about new COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

The mayor told a City Council meeting on Wednesday that he had discussed with Ige a suggestion to limit the size of social gatherings outside to no more than 25 and inside to 10 because much of the current spike is caused through community spread.

“My discussion with the governor … with respect to restrictions is only really one. They’re concerned about gatherings,” he said at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. “So they want to revert to groups outside of no more than 25 and groups inside of 10.”

“They’re going to leave the jurisdiction cause to the mayors themselves,” he added. “We’re looking at this as a mitigating factor against the greater objective of getting more people vaccinated and or on a testing regiment to mitigate the further spread and do as least invasive as possible.”

However, Blangiardi said on HNN Friday he did “not say that as a matter of fact that we will reduce gatherings down to 25 outdoors again and 10.”

He said he planned to discuss the issue further with Ige later Friday.

The discussions comes after a surge of COVID-19 cases in the triple digits in recent weeks, driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Hawaii reported 655 new cases on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 44,617.

Oahu has been in Tier 5, which allowed social gatherings up to 75 people outdoors and 25 indoors.

Ige said last week that he would reimpose restrictions if the number of patients continued to rise and threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

The increase is being driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Officials also have pleaded with more people to get a COVID-19 shot in order to stop the spread of the virus. So far, 60.4% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

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