Pandemic Tiers

Are Hawaii’s pandemic-related “tiers” precise in deciding what’s open and what’s not?

With Hawaii now in Tier 3 on the totem pole to conquer the pandemic, some uncertainties prevail about bars and nightclubs, which are supposed to remain closed in this echelon.

I’ve been asked, why are such venues as Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort and Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace able to stage performances with live audiences?

Both sites serve alcohol, which means they’re sorta-bars; both places also provide dinner service, so they’re sorta-restaurants with limited capacity.

But what they provide –the mix of food, drinks and entertainment – makes them supper clubs, also known as nightclubs in the hospitality biz.

Semantics matter, so regulations require clarity.

Don’t get me wrong; as a former newspaper entertainment editor and columnist, I support the opening of bars and nightclubs, with the appropriate mask-wearing and six-feet social-distancing measures in place. I assume clubgoers to Blue Note and Medici’s don the facial gear, and certainly, I applaud more opportunities for more entertainers to take the stage.

Admittedly, I’ve not been to either venue since the pandemic hit, but can’t wholly buy into the six-feet distancing; the space between tables might be OK, with or without Plexiglas barriers, but the number of patrons on each table might be questionable.

So the regulators should regulate and provide clarify; take the temperature and diagnose the ailment. Are both venues considered restaurants, to qualify for in-house live shows, even if they’re nightclubs in practice?

We’re in the third quarter of Tier-dom, and the strategy in the fourth will help decide if a win is imminent. What’s your take?

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