Indoor and outdoor social gatherings on Oahu are now limited to no more than 10 people regardless of whether the people are related or live in the same household.

Previously, the city allowed pods of 10 people or less to congregate in “gatherings” for events like weddings or funerals as long as those pods kept a distance from each other. Under that previous order, up to 10 groups of 10 people each – for a total of 100 – were permitted for outdoor gatherings, and up to 5 groups of 10 people were allowed each for indoor gatherings.

That is no longer the case.

Now, people cannot gather in groups larger than 10 people period. That means funerals and weddings are limited to 10 people total. Household members on their own property, however, can go about their business.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said on Monday that Gov. David Ige approved the measure, which is effective immediately.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Council Chair Ikaika Anderson during press conference announcing the Primary Election Official Ballot drop box located at the Kaneohe District Court.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Council Chair Ikaika Anderson during press conference announcing the Primary Election Official Ballot drop box located at the Kaneohe District Court. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Both indoors and outdoors, people must keep a physical distance of at least six feet between members of different households, and face coverings must be worn, the city said. Mingling between separate social gatherings is prohibited.

The mayor has lamented how every weekend at the beach feels like the Fourth of July with families and friends gathered in large groups under and around tents.

“Right now we’re facing a massive challenge to get this virus back under control and we don’t want to go back to where we were in March,” Caldwell said in a statement. “The goal here is to keep as much of our island open and running as possible, but in a way that’s safe.”

Instead of closing down facilities like parks entirely, Caldwell said the city is trying to control the size of groups who visit them.

“We’re trying to move forward in a way where we can avoid taking any major steps backwards,” he said. “The only way we do this is with everyone doing their part.”

The Honolulu Park and Recreation Department will not issue any new picnic permits, including those for bouncy houses. However, the department will continue to allow “outdoor team sports events” for up to 100 people including athletes, coaches, and spectators.

“These events are not meant to be social gatherings, and participants are expected to leave the park once their event is complete while wearing facial coverings and physically distancing,” the department said in a news release.

Violations of any of the mayor’s emergency orders is punishable as a misdemeanor, with fines of up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in jail. Members of the public who have questions can call 768-CITY (2489) information hotline, email covidresponse@honolulu.gov or visit OneOahu.org to get answers to frequently asked questions.

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