Maui Discussion

Discussion: Molina Urges Mayor to Allow Parents to Watch Their Kids Play Sports

September 29, 2021, 6:44 AM HST
* Updated September 29, 7:41 AM
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Maui County Councilmember Michael J. Molina.

Councilmember Michael J. Molina is urging Maui Mayor Michael Victorino to reconsider his mandate restricting parents from watching their children play sports.

On Sept. 15, the Mayor’s “Safer Outside” initiatives went into effect, prohibiting spectators from indoor and outdoor sporting events. It was among a list of provisions outlined that also included vaccine guidelines for bars, restaurants, gyms and other “high risk” businesses.

The Safer Outside rules also imposed a reduction in capacity for commercial recreational boating, ground transportation, and commercial tour operators from 75% to 50%.

The mayor has since sent a request to Governor David Ige to relax Maui’s Safer Outside Emergency Health Rules, but to prevent any confusion, he has not specified what parts of the document he is seeking to amend.

Molina said that in other counties, “spectators have returned to the sidelines with appropriate restrictions to ensure they can safely watch their family and friends play outdoor sports.”

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Molina said the mayor needs to be more receptive to the voices of Maui County’s citizens and implement a workable plan that emphasizes mask wearing, social distancing, and other COVID-19 safety protocols in an effort allow parents to return to the sidelines.

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Molina said an online petition asking that parents be allowed to watch their children’s games and practices in Maui County reached nearly 1,900 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The change.org petition, titled “Let Parents Watch Their Kids Play Sports with Mask Wearing and Social Distancing Outdoors,” was created by Aaron Ambricio of Pukalani just after the mandate went into effect.

“Beyond the change.org petition, many frustrated parents have reached out to me directly voicing their vehement opposition to this rule,” Molina said. 

Molina said that extending the mandate to remove parents from participating in their children’s sporting activities is “only going to create more frustration.”  “The double standard of allowing some activities, but not others of a similar nature, is only adding to government distrust and furthering community divide,” he said. 

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“If the mayor can make exceptions for tourists to gather at lūʻaus, why not allow parents, a large majority of whom are tax-paying residents, to watch their children practice and play sports?” Molina asked.

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