HONOLULU (KHON2) — There is a little more than a month left before Hawaii Governor David Ige plans to reopen Hawaii to trans-Pacific travel.
However, after huge case spikes, there is talk about reinstating the quarantine for inter-island travel.
Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino has already sent a request to Governor Ige to do this.
In the letter which was sent last Friday, Mayor Victorino said he is gravely concerned about the alarming rise in cases, which is why he wants a return of the 14-day quarantine.
“I think we need to start looking at what do we need to do to ramp it down, to level out that curve once again,” said Victorino.
Maui reported nine new cases of the virus. While Mayor Victorino said in a press conference on Wednesday that many of these new cases are linked to social gatherings, previous COVID-19 cases identified on Maui were inter-island travel related.
“The governor is still considering it, looking at the numbers and seeing what other discussions we must undertake,” said Victorino.
Kauai had two new COVID cases. One case was a resident who recently returned from the mainland. The other case is a resident who had close contact with an inter-island traveler who had tested positive after leaving the Garden Isle.
“This is the first time that we have seen a Kauai case directly linked to inter-island travel. It is a good reminder that any off-island travel poses risks, especially as the cases across the state and nation continue to rise,” said Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami.
He is asking Kauai residents to limit their travel for the time being.
“We’ve been encouraging people that if you’re going to travel try to limit it to essential travel… family members that you need to go see, if it’s a doctor’s visit, if it’s work-related,” said Kawakami.
As for reinstituting the inter-island quarantine, Mayor Kawakami said it’s a big decision that needs more discussion since it impacted many families last time.
“It was hard too because for months we had kids on Kauai that wanted to visit their elderly parents on Oahu and it was heartbreaking,” said Mayor Kawakami.
Meanwhile, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said the quarantine is not something he’s considering, but if his county sees a spike, that may change.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the reinstitution of the inter-island quarantine is something the mayors need still need to discuss.
“I think the quarantine was very effective in stemming the spread of the virus just like the quarantine for people outside of the state,” said Mayor Caldwell. “There are impacts, and I think all the neighbor island neighbors need to weigh in on whether they want to re-impose a quarantine along with the governor.”
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