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Big Island Rolls Back Some Virus Restrictions

November 30, 2021, 4:43 PM HST
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Mayor Mitch Roth signed the Mayor’s COVID-19 Emergency Rule No. 19 on Tuesday, easing various COVID-19 restrictions throughout Hawaiʻi County.

The new emergency rules come on the heels of Governor Ige’s lastest Emergency Proclamation Related to COVID-19, signed Monday, Nov. 29, which suspends laws allowing the counties to instate and enforce their own emergency rules without his concurrence.

The relaxed restrictions include, but aren’t limited to, an increase in gathering sizes, both in and outdoors, expanded capacity of restaurants, bars and barbershops, and an increase in capacity of indoor and outdoor recreational areas, pending approved COVID-19 mitigation measures for all events or activities with the potential to generate gatherings over the permitted maximum number of persons allowed.

Facemasks will continue to be mandated in indoor gathering settings and are strongly encouraged outdoors in large groups. Special event requests will still be required for gatherings larger than the allowed limits, indoors and out.

“Moving forward, each county will need the ability to quickly adapt to the needs of their individual communities as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and on to a new and better normal,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “We have seen the unique needs of our island home over the past year, and we are confident that by continuing to work together, hand-in-hand, while sticking to what we know works, we will be able to keep our island safe while restoring our economy and getting people back to the activities that they love most. That said, we are grateful to Governor Ige for acknowledging our needs and granting us the opportunity to pivot as necessary.”

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“There is still much uncertainty in how the virus will continue to mutate, and we encourage all our residents not to let their guard down,” Roth continued. “So long as everyone follows the rules and remains mindful of their neighbors, we will be able to continue easing restrictions and reopen with a measured approach. Vaccines remain our best defense against COVID-19, and we ask that everyone who hasn’t gotten their vaccine or booster, but would like to, do so as soon as possible.”

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