Counties will need approval from Governor or HIEMA before implementing new rules

Coronavirus

Hawaii’s number of Coronavirus cases rose by just two on Sunday. There was one new case each on Oahu and Hawaii Island, and both cases are under the age of 18. The low increase comes on the heels of Governor Ige’s extension of the Stay-at-Home order. But now the counties will need the Governor’s or the Director of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s review and approval to implement new rules. We reached out to the mayors and have their reaction.

On Saturday, Governor David Ige said his latest supplemental proclamation requires the counties to provide the state copies of future rules and they require his approval.

While Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell agrees on the need for greater consistency, he sent a letter expressing concern regarding the need to get the Governor’s approval: “We have concerns that the action taken today will affect the City and County of Honolulu’s ability to act quickly and deliberately during this crisis.”

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino had this to say on Sunday: “The county mayors still need the flexibility and power to make immediate changes to protect the health and safety of our communities.”

“I’ve been asking for better coordination between the state and counties from day one,” said Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.

Kim says he does not see a problem with the new approval process to avoid public confusion. He also appreciates the heads up on the extension of the Stay-at-Home order.

“It was done at the earliest possible so we can all plan. Number two, he clarified in regards to the beaches and what was allowed and not allowed,” said Kim.

On the island with the most protective measures put in place, Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami says he’s not worried.

“For the Governor, we asked the question about turnaround time. Can we expect a 24 hour turnaround time? He said yes,” said Kawakami.

He also says Major General Kenneth Hara will be a part of the approval process. Under the proclamation, counties are directed to obtain the Governor’s approval or the approval of the Director of HIEMA prior to issuing any emergency order, rule, or proclamation.

“This doesn’t unnecessarily disrupt our operation. It does require at least pre-planning on our part knowing that anything we are thinking of should be sent up, but like I said, we do that anyway,” he said.

Kawakami tells us with his daily COVID-19 updates, residents should not be confused about the guidelines.

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