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Mayor Michael Victorino discusses upcoming changes to the COVID-19 emergency rules, including gathering sizes, bar closing times and rules for unvaccinated patrons dining at restaurants. AKAKU image

Maui News

Mayor Michael Victorino said he expects to receive approval for changes to collection limits, bar opening hours and rules for unvaccinated patrons dining at restaurants as County Maui continues to average the state’s lowest daily case count and test positivity rates.

Victorino said at the county press conference on Tuesday that he had received verbal approval of the changes from Gov. David Ige and expected official confirmation soon. If approved this week, the rules would go into effect Sunday at 12:01 am.

The changes include increasing social gatherings to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, extending the closing hours for bars and restaurants from 10 p.m. to midnight, allowing 10 guests per table instead of five and allowing unvaccinated customers who tested negative for COVID-19 48 hours before to dine inside. Restaurants currently require customers to present proof of vaccination in order to dine on site; unvaccinated customers should order take-out, drive-thru, or dine out.

“I want to thank all of the businesses and the community and our residents of County Maui for making this possible,” said Victorino. “You have all done a fantastic job of bringing the numbers down and I am very proud of you. I am starting to be more optimistic. I like to put it this way – I feel like Christmas is just around the corner.

Victorino also said last week that fans would be allowed to attend youth sporting events not sanctioned by the state Department of Education. Tuesday he said “Details will be communicated regarding specific figures” allowed, and that Maui County follow the lead of Honolulu County, which recently relaxed a series of restrictions on bars and restaurants as well as on entertainment events.

Victorino pointed out that Tuesday was the first time in months that new COVID-19 cases had dropped to single digits in Maui County, with two cases in Maui and one in Molokai. In Hawaii, there were only 49 cases, a marked difference from early August when the delta variant resulted in more than 1,000 cases per day statewide.

Maui County has an average of 14 new cases per day and a 2% test positive rate, both the lowest in the state. Honolulu County has an average of 101 new cases per day and a test positivity rate of 2.8%, while Hawaii County has 33 new cases and a test positivity rate of 4.5% and Kauai County has 14 new cases and a test positivity rate of 3.2%.

“You did it, the people of Maui County worked really hard to get this far,” said Victorino. “So I want to thank each of you for your participation, your diligence and, most importantly, for your help in getting to this point. Are we out of the woods? Absolutely not. But we are getting closer.

The mayor also said the Halloween trick-or-treat can continue, although he has requested that people stay in the domestic pods.

However, he also encouraged the driving events and said the county would be hosting a “Halloween Driving Adventure” at Keopuolani Park from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on October 31. Free entry.

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