Full capacity now allowed for restaurants, bars

Beginning today, Maui County restaurants and bars can return to full capacity without physical distancing requirements, Mayor Michael Victorino said Tuesday afternoon.

People can dine indoors with proof of full vaccination, verification of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours or a signed letter from a medical provider confirming full recovery from a COVID-19 infection, according to a county news release.

“We are able to relax these restrictions because the people of Maui County have been mindful of the health and safety of others,” Victorino said in the news release. “With our low positivity rate and the ability to conduct outdoor activities in a safe manner, we feel comfortable loosening these restrictions.

On Tuesday, Maui County had a 2 percent test positivity rate and was averaging 15 new cases per day, according to the state Department of Health.

“At the same time, we are aware of the new omicron variant and are actively monitoring developments,” Victorino said. “We will continue to act thoughtfully according to the advice of medical experts.”

At some Maui eateries, the change was welcome news.

“That’s fantastic,” said John Henry, owner of Maui Coffee Attic in Wailuku. “Now we can actually have people sit next to each other.”

He said the cafe would continue seating people outside “until we can allow everybody to come inside and eat as long as they’re not sick.”

Henry said the cafe probably doesn’t have room outside to add tables and is still waiting to get the go-ahead to resume concerts for 150 people. “There are so many bands that want to perform,” he said.

At Tokyo Tei in Wailuku, owner Song Colagross said she hoped the relaxed rules would help generate more business.

“That’s awesome,” she said. “Tell the mayor thank you so much.”

Like other businesses, she said the restaurant has struggled in the pandemic with some customers reluctant to dine out. “We’re going to be all right,” she said.

After today, all outdoor restrictions will be lifted, the news release said.

Indoor commercial events planned for more than 75 participants will still require an exemption. Those seeking exemptions can submit plans to exemption.request@mauicounty.gov.

Victorino made the announcement after Gov. David Ige said last week that mayors will determine their own public health emergency rules, as appropriate for their communities. The governor has retained the Safe Travels program for out-of-state travelers and a statewide requirement for all to wear face coverings indoors.

Other county mayors have also announced relaxing of rules, although it may be different from county to county.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.


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