Maui News

Opening Weekend of MIL Comes with No Fans in Stands, That Will Change on Monday

By Wendy Osher
October 23, 2021, 12:29 PM HST
* Updated October 25, 8:19 AM
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War Memorial Stadium, Wailuku. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Interscholastic League football returned on Friday with no fans in the stands, but that is scheduled to change come Monday.

The MIL issued an update saying that with COVID numbers getting better, the league will be “moving forward with a cautious and prudent approach to allowing spectators into MIL events.”  Starting on Monday, Oct. 25, parents of the student-athletes of the home/host team will be allowed to attend in person.  Those in attendance must be fully vaccinated. There will be no concessions and no food or drinks, but water will be permissible, according to a league press release.

In the meantime, some events are being streamed on the NFHS site (nfhsnetwork.com).

Mayor Victorino said the change isn’t as soon as he had hoped. “Why couldn’t we do it this week? Just a question… I’m not knocking the MIL… I know you guys do a fantastic job, and as a decision maker, I understand the trials and tribulations when you make a decision, you never satisfy everyone. However, MIL spectators should be allowed, especially the parents, at least at this point,” said Mayor Victorino.

“I was asking for this weekend… this Friday, Saturday. I would like to see it happen now, not wait until next week,” said Mayor Victorino. “But that’s their call. I’m just advocating for the families who have called and said why can’t they go this weekend.”

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The County of Maui has welcomed spectators back since Oct. 16, but that did not include MIL or Department of Education sanctioned activities.

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Mayor Victorino said his office continues to receive calls from upset parents. “Let me clarify. I have no decision making power within the MIL; however, I am advocating for our students to have their parents there to enjoy them–especially if they’re in an open-air area. Hey, if you want to say wearing of masks are necessary, then fine. No concessions–just water like what Honolulu is doing on Oʻahu–I have no problem with that. But let’s open the gates for our families,” he said during a Friday afternoon press briefing.

“We know what the rules are. People have been complying–[including] our spectators, [and] our parents. I want to say congratulations for what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Menehune basketball games are being held indoors, and it’s limited to 10 with mandatory masks; however we do have live streaming on Facebook, for which our county employees have put together so that parents and grandparents, and those who cannot attend because of the low numbers, are able to still watch the game, and they watch it for free,” the mayor said.

Satoki Yamamoto Track at War Memorial Stadium. PC: County of Maui / Shane Tegarden photo

According to Mayor Victorino’s estimates, the War Memorial Stadium could probably fit about 4,000 people at 50% capacity. “The other stadiums are a little bit smaller, but I know many of them could hold 400-500 people minimum at 50% capacity, if not more.”

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“So I ask everyone, especially the MIL, to let these participants enjoy watching the players as they play. For some of them, this is their last chance as seniors–they have no more opportunities. To the players, coaches, and officials, I want to wish you well–a safe season, a successful season. I ask everyone to please, especially the MIL and the DOE, let’s let our fans back into the stadium as soon as possible… yes, I know you have livestreams, but I understand that that’s kind of expensive. For some families, it makes it virtually impossible if they don’t have any wifi or any broadband connection in their area,” said Mayor Victorino.

The MIL says the situation remains fluid, and plans to hold weekly meetings to assess, discuss concerns, and determine any adjustments. “We are very excited that our student-athletes are back to the courts, courses and fields of play.  We will be just as excited when we welcome our families and supporters back in a safe and responsible way to watch our student-athletes enjoy the sports they have been away from for far too long,” according to an MIL news release.

On Friday, Mayor Victorino met with the other county mayors, Governor David Ige, state Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, and Major General Kenneth Hara to discuss plans to further ease public restrictions statewide in the upcoming week, provided that COVID numbers continue to trend in the right direction. “

“Gen. Hara and Gov. Ige are working on a plan to lift restrictions that is structured, orderly, and in a way to prevent another spike in infections as we approach the holiday season. We want everyone to have a great but safe and healthy holiday season,” said Mayor Victorino.

“Part of the plan will include increasing vaccination rates,” said Mayor Victorino, who received his booster shot at Maui Memorial Medical Center on Friday. “I want everyone to understand that we are not out of the woods. We’re in a better place, but we have to be vigilant. We’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on around us.”

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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