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Organizers report sporting events on Oahu with spectators are off to a good start

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Organizers report sporting events on Oahu with spectators are off to a good start

Fans are back in the stands at high school and college games for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. So far, things are off to a smooth start.

Under current county rules, there are still capacity limits and some Coronavirus vaccination restrictions in place.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi told KITV4 he submitted a proposal to Governor David Ige last week and it's under review by the Department of Health and the governor. He couldn't share what he requested but he's hopeful with the current COVID-19 infection trends going in the right direction.

In his words, the mayor says his intention is to go forward as aggressive as possible when it comes to expanding capacity at games.

"I love a big crowd at football games, I know what it means for the team to have a sense of home field. Not just a home field but just playing in front of the people that appreciate you like that and what goes on. We want to get that going as fast as we can," Blangiardi said.

Since Wednesday, there were 11 high school volleyball games totaling more than 1,100 fans and 10 football games adding up to nearly 5,700 people.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association represents 30 schools on the island with junior varsity and varsity level sports. Executive director Raymond Fujino says he received mostly positive feedback from schools. There was one lesson learned, Fujino says the ticketing system schools use is based on the East Coast. Because of the time difference, the program was off when fans checked in.

"It was on eastern standard time so at 6 o'clock our time, which was probably midnight their time," Fujino said.

Staff were on site to manually verify tickets and the problem is fixed.

Fujino says some people are also unaware of the spectator guidelines. The rule now is all spectators must be fully vaccinated against COVID -19. Because children under 11 years old are not yet eligible for a shot, they're not allowed at games.

"The message was pretty clear for 99% of the fans, I think it went well," Fujino said. "I tell the people we want you there, be patient and hopefully we get back to. This is a temporary solution and we can get back to some sort of normalcy where everyone back, with full capacity."

The University of Hawaii also hosted 1,000 fans at its football game on Saturday. A UH spokesperson says every one followed the vaccination and health screening policy and they're ready for more fans at the remaining two home games.

A spokesperson for Governor Ige says there's no timeline yet on when there might be an increase in capacity at these games.

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