Hawaii Bars and Restaurants to Lift Capacity, Social Distancing Restrictions

By Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
November 24, 2021 Updated: November 25, 2021

Hawaii is lifting its COVID-19 restrictions, allowing restaurants and bars in certain regions to return to service at full capacity, Gov. David Ige announced on Nov. 23.

The governor discussed at a press conference the next-phase COVID-19 measures for the state and counties ahead of the Nov. 30 expiration of the current emergency proclamation.

As of Dec. 1, the statewide limits on social gatherings in bars, restaurants, gyms, and other establishments will be lifted. However, individual counties will be free to set restrictions based on their own situations without the need to obtain the governor’s approval, Ige said.

“The counties will continue to have direct responsibility for emergency management within their respective counties, and they will perform emergency management functions that likely will continue to include emergency rules, orders, and proclamations or directives as necessary,” he said.

“This is really just a return to the normal emergency situations in which counties are lead and the state provides guidance and support.”

Most of Hawaii’s counties will allow the hospitality sector to return to operating at 100 percent capacity under the new orders. These counties will also eliminate the requirement to have patrons adhere to the six-foot social distancing measures, according to The Associated Press.

Ige said that the “improvement and stabilization of the virus activity in our community” makes it “a good time to pivot state coordination back to the counties.”

He noted that some basic COVID-19 regulations would remain in place, including an indoor masking mandate, and vaccination or testing requirements for state executive or county employees.

As of Nov. 29, Hawaii will discontinue critical infrastructure worker quarantine exemptions (CISA), Ige said.

Exemptions for those who previously tested positive for COVID-19 and other exemptions will continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis, as he encouraged travelers to return to the state.

“Hawaii is open for business,” Ige said, adding that with domestic travel returning to pre-pandemic levels, it’s anticipated that the tourism industry will soon be back to normal.

Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.