On Wednesday, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami announced the 14-day travel quarantine for incoming visitors and residents would be extended to June 30.
Kawakami said he received approval from Gov. David Ige.
Kauai has had the lowest amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state with 21.
On Thursday, no new cases were reported in Hawaii however, some U.S. states reported over 1,000 new cases.
Mayor Kawakami said he made the decision to extend the quarantine with the visitor industry in mind.
“It becomes pretty clear that the rest of the United States and many countries have yet to stabilize the current infections that are sweeping across the globe,” he said.
He said he wanted to give the visitor industry some predictability.
“We wanted to take a look at our assessment of the current situation and forecast whether or not we would be in a stable condition by May 31, where we would be in a place where visitors could start to arrive and come to Kauai,” he explained.
“For us, it became pretty obvious that we don’t feel that by the end of May we’re going to be in any sort of state to have incoming arrivals coming in.
He said making the announcement ahead of time gives Kauai hotels the chance to inform guests that the quarantine is in place.
“We wanted to give them at least some sort of lead time to be able to tell their guests that, ‘No, Kauai County clearly has said the 14-day quarantine is going to extend until the end of June,” he continued.
Extending the quarantine an additional month comes at a time when the state is trying to find ways to tighten loopholes that several residents and visitors have found to break during quarantine.
“There are mistakes happening at the state level that needs to be fixed because it really makes our job hard and it’s really frustrating because we work so hard as an island to bring our case count to zero,” said Kawakami.
“When people slip through and land here, I can understand the frustration of our community, because they’ve made huge sacrifices,” he said.
To date, Kauai is the only county that has a police check point at the exit of the airport.
Kawakami said the National Guard and Kauai Police Department check on people who are under quarantine to make sure they have food and essential items delivered to them.
“They make sure they are okay because we fully know that they need to have food and essential items dropped off, so our officers are there to make sure they indeed have someone helping them out with food,” Kawakami said.
“If they are not at home, we are doing our own investigation and we’re issuing citations to these folks who are endangering our island and our people,” he said.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he will discuss extending Oahu’s 14-day traveler quarantine with Gov. Ige on Friday.
He too said the state needs to step up its enforcement at the airport instead of putting all the pressure on the Honolulu Police Department.
“We also support a 14-day quarantine for inter-island travel to be extended through June 30 to protect the residents of the island of Oahu and to make sure COVID doesn’t spread among the islands,” said Caldwell. “If we can do this for another month I think we’ll continue to thaw out our economy and begin the tough process of allowing visitors back in.”
He said to make sure visitors follow quarantine they must stay at a hotel.
“It starts at the airport and it starts with visitors being allowed to only stay at hotels, not at vacation rentals, they’re non-essential and for the most part illegal. No one no one coming into Honolulu should be permitted to stay at a vacation rental,” he said.
Caldwell also said homeless have been able to leave the airport and go straight to triage facilities about a mile away from the airport.
“How does that happen? How does someone fill out a form, be let out the airport and go to our triage center? This shouldn’t be happening,” he said.
He said it’s hard for HPD to enforce once visitors and residents leave the airport.
“They shouldn’t be allowed out of the airport until they can verify who they are staying with and verify the person is going to be at a persons’ home and guarantee they’ll quarantine for 14-days,” he said.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino also said extending Maui County’s traveler quarantine is being discussed but provided no additional comment.