Maui Coronavirus Updates

Mayor Kawakami Extends Mandatory Quarantine for Incoming Travelers to Kaua‘i Through End of June

May 13, 2020, 2:50 PM HST
* Updated May 13, 5:51 PM
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Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kaua‘i. (August 2016) PC: file courtesy Hawai‘i DLNR

By Wendy Osher

Kauaʻi Mayor Derek Kawakami today announced that he has signed Emergency Rule 9, which extends the mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers to the island of Kauaʻi through the month of June.

“We believe at this point in time, that we’ve got a good hold of COVID-19 on our island but if any incoming person were to come to Kauaʻi with COVID-19… we can quickly lose our grip on this virus.  So it is imperative that we have a good system in place to ensure that incoming arrivals strictly follow quarantine orders,” said Mayor Kawakami.

Those traveling for health care purposes, as long as they wear appropriate protective gear and keep social distance, are exempt from the quarantine. Those traveling to perform critical infrastructure work, as identified in the Governor’s proclamation, are still subject to the quarantine, but are allowed to break quarantine only to perform those essential work functions.

The state’s 14-day travel quarantine remains in effect through May 31, 2020. It is still undetermined what Gov. Ige’s plans are beyond that point. Today, Congressman Ed Case is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to confirm the State of Hawai‘i’s ability to impose and enforce COVID-19 testing as a condition to boarding planes for Hawai‘i.

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Lt. Gov. Josh Green (see full live stream below) discussed the idea of testing as a condition to allowing travel into the state; but said he would like input from the public on the matter.  The discussion comes as US Sen. Brian Schatz announced that Hawai‘i will receive $50 million in new federal funding to expand COVID-19 contact tracing and testing.

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Here on Maui, Mayor Victorino yesterday expressed reservations  when we asked him about the state’s travel quarantine and if he thinks it can be lifted on May 31st. “Absolutely not,” he said, “… unless there is a good methodology of tracing people coming in and making sure (a) that they’ve been tested before they come here and they’re not sick.”

“We need to know before anybody comes here–could they be a carrier because that’s the one way we could get another outbreak is someone bringing it in.  Returning residents are also another challenge.  I’m beginning to feel like those who are returning from the mainland, like the last two cases in Honolulu yesterday were returning from Utah and they tested positive, and now they created another stir for Honolulu,” said Mayor Victorino.

“We may have to institute anyone coming in to be tested to make sure that it is not brought back in, not only from visitors, but residents alike,” he said.

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As far as an interisland quarantine, Mayor Victorino shared that it will likely be extended beyond the current end of month parameters.  “I’m looking at probably somewhere in June to say we are ready to accept guests from the other islands, but I want to see how their numbers run as far as positive cases,” said Mayor Victorino who noted that he’d like to see zeros for at least two or three weeks before opening up interisland travel without a quarantine in place.

On Kauaʻi, Mayor Kawakami said, “We have taken temporary control over the coronavirus with our aggressive restrictions, and we feel we can begin to ease them in a responsible manner.  That said, the risk of the virus returning is most clearly associated with incoming travelers, whether residents or visitors, so we feel it is necessary to extend the mandatory quarantine.”

In addition to the travel quarantine extension for Kauaʻi, Mayor Kawakami announced today that beaches on the island of Kauaʻi will reopen on Friday, May 15 under a two-week pilot program as part of the Mayor’s Emergency Rule 8, which was approved by Governor David Ige.

Rule 8 allows people to utilize the beach on Kauaʻi under certain restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Emergency Rule 8 allows more casual beach use on Kauaʻi with the following limitations:

  • All groups should be part of the same household, and should not exceed 10 people;
  • Any and all persons on the beach who are not part of the same household shall comply with social distancing requirements, with the exception of caregivers escorting a dependent;
  • Beaches or sand area may only be used a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset, unless a person is engaged in shoreline fishing or permitted outdoor exercise; and
  • All other restrictions found in the Governor’s Safer at Home order must be followed, such as quarantine restrictions.

“In order for us to continue to reopen our businesses and activities while keeping each other safe, we all must exercise self-discipline to follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and cleaning surfaces often,” urged Mayor Kawakami.

As a reminder, all individuals in the State of Hawai‘i are subject to Governor Ige’s emergency proclamations and safer-at-home order.

https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/videos/683438599162152/

*Video courtesy Gov. David Ige. 5.13.20.

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