Maui Mayor Eyes Restrictions in Virus Cluster Areas: “We’re at a Crucial Point”
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said he’s looking at additional restrictions, especially for areas where clusters are popping up on Maui.
“We are looking at maybe reducing their hours even further if necessary,” said Mayor Victorino during a Friday afternoon press briefing. “But I’m trying to allow time for them to clean up–reestablishing and reevaluating how they’ve been serving the people of Maui County and the visitors alike.”
On Thursday, the state Department of Health released an updated cluster report indicating there are a dozen clusters in Maui County including: one cluster at the Maui Community Correctional facility, one in an educational setting, three in the travel/lodging/tourism sector, four at bars/nightclub setting, one at a restaurant, one at a place of worship, and one at a cleaning service.
The cluster at the Maui Community Correctional Center was updated on Saturday to include 88 inmates who tested positive (14 are active and 74 have recovered).
During a press conference, Mayor Victorino said he could not confirm or deny where the particular place of worship was where at least 24 infections were identified. “The Department of Health does not disclose locations of COVID-19 clusters unless there’s an urgent public health threat. For those who may have been exposed or have been contacted about testing, isolation or contact tracing–this will be done by the Department of Health… I will leave it in their hands,” he said.
When asked if Maui is welcoming too many visitors, Mayor Victorino said all islands have been experiencing an increase in tourism as Spring Break is currently underway.
“As far as trans-Pacific travel, we are welcoming and I think all the counties have seen an uptick with Spring Break of visitors coming into our state. With that being said, we request that they continue to wear masks–even if they come from states like Texas and Mississippi where mask mandates are no longer applicable–here, it is still a mandate. I want them to understand that we are upping the enforcement and if they are not going to comply, they will get cited and fined,” said Mayor Victorino.
State officials estimate 52,838 passengers arrived on trans-Pacific flights over the weekend. A total 33,916 people indicated they came to Hawai‘i for vacation. There were also 9,120 returning residents. The trans-Pacific passenger arrival data is derived from data provided by the Safe Travels digital system.
Here on Maui, 17,781 people arrived from out of state over the weekend, 14,586 of them for vacation/leisure, and 1,977 returning residents.
Mayor Victorino said there is currently discussion of when interisland travel can reopen without testing. “There is discussion on other dates later in the month of April or early May that may be considered depending when we and state get numbers more in line,” he said.
When asked what is being done to bring numbers down, Mayor Victorino said, “We’re trying to meet the needs, make sure that all the wrap around services are brought in to these various clusters. If there are more specific other measures need to be taken, they are and will be taken.”
He continued saying, “I’m asking the county and our residents to really understand (I’ve said this many times) we get our numbers down, we’re looking good, and all of a sudden we get complacent… and things like this have popped up again. I ask the residents of this county to continue doing their vigilance and keep our counts from getting higher–wearing of masks, good hygiene and physical distancing will be our number one… If we do what we’re supposed to be doing and not get complacent, we’ll be able to be in good shape in probably the next 45-60 days when we get most of the people who want to and are eligible to be vaccinated, vaccinated.”
Mayor Victorino issued a reminder saying, “I ask everyone to just remember–it is time, we are at that crucial point. We know we can get to the finish line but we all need to continue to work together. A little more sacrifice and we’ll bear the fruits of our labor–and probably by the end of May or early June and we’ll be able to really get back to some normalcy in all of our lives.”