Maui News

Schatz Calls on Ige to Lift Restrictions on Youth Sports

May 13, 2021, 9:39 AM HST
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US Senator Brian Schatz today called on Governor David Ige to lift restrictions on youth sporting events, including allowing parents and guardians to cheer on their athletes in person and permitting surf competitions and regattas to resume, while adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“I urgently ask you to reevaluate your prohibition on parents and guardians watching youth sports. We already allow people on beaches, to watch sports in bars, and to do other outdoor activities, but yet we do not allow parents and guardians to watch their kids play youth sports outside in the sunshine and open air,” Sen. Schatz wrote in his letter to the governor. “Lifting your prohibition on parents and guardians watching their kids play youth sports and youth surf and outrigger canoe paddling contests can be done while remaining consistent with public health guidelines.”

In his letter to the governor, Schatz cites Hawai‘i’s progress on vaccinations and its low case counts, as well as the importance of safely lifting restrictions and returning to a more normal life.

Central Maui Regional Sports Complex. (file photo March 12, 2016). Photo credit: DLNR.

The full letter follows:

Dear Governor Ige:

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I am encouraged and optimistic about Hawai‘i’s great progress on vaccinations and our low and dropping case counts. As we continue to work to end the COVID-19 pandemic, our main objective should be to get as many people in our state vaccinated. To accomplish this, it is time that we begin to reward the people of Hawai‘i for being one of the most responsible states in the country in responding to COVID-19. We should not take undue risks and we should continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) guidelines, but we can take additional steps to safely lift restrictions and return to more normal life.

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To that end, I urgently ask you to reevaluate your prohibition on parents and guardians watching youth sports. We already allow people on beaches, we allow gatherings in bars, and we permit other outdoor activities, but we inexplicably do not allow parents and guardians to watch their own kids play sports outside in the sunshine and open air.

Additionally, I urge you to reevaluate your prohibition on all surfing competitions and outrigger canoe paddling regattas and races and recognize the distinction between the types of large surf contests that encourage fans to gather and smaller youth competitions run by the Hawai‘i Surf Association (HSA). Surfing and outrigger canoe paddling are an important part of our culture, and youth should be able to safely participate in competitions, regattas, and races.

Lifting your prohibition on parents and guardians watching their kids play youth sports and youth surf and outrigger canoe paddling contests can be done while remaining consistent with public health guidelines. Furthermore, it would reward hard-working families for their exemplary behavior and advance the efforts to get everyone vaccinated. I appreciate your attention to this matter and your collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I look forward to your response.

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Sincerely,

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