HONOLULU (KHON2) — After a five-hour meeting on Wednesday, July 8, the governor and the mayors are still trying to figure out a path forward for the state regarding travel.
So far, an official decision hasn’t been made on moving that date.
August 1 is the date that the governor announced to lift the state’s 14-day quarantine for travelers coming into the state. However, in light of recent spikes both within the state and on the mainland, the mayors have voiced concerns with loosening restrictions on that date.
There are also a number of new developments that have come up that need to be taken into account.
“The governor’s working group to reopen travel did a great job as far as putting a plan together, but as many folks have seen, components that are key to deploying that plan are falling apart as we speak,” said Kauai County Mayor Kawakami.
This includes the state’s capacity for testing, which was reported on Wednesday to have been drastically cut.
The Department of Health said some labs are experiencing delays in receiving supplies and have had to send a number of tests to the mainland, which will cause a delay in results.
Kawakami said Kauai County has five ICU beds available and 15 ventilators. He says that any major surges in his county would be difficult to handle, which is why he believes the state should postpone loosening travel restrictions.
“If somebody were to ask me, ‘Are we ready to reopen on August 1st and be able to have a high level of confidence that our healthcare system can manage a surge, I would say that no, I’m not convinced,” said Mayor Kawakami.
Before the meeting, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim also made it clear how he feels in an interview on Wake Up 2day.
“The decision about whether to extend the August 1 date for an extended quarantine will affect thousands of lives and is not being taken lightly. There are a number of factors being discussed, including access to testing both in Hawaii and elsewhere. We will continue to work with the governor and the other mayors to find a path forward that puts the health and safety of our citizens first,” Mayor Kim said.
But the mayors say that any decision will be difficult.
“If we say let’s open it up, we’re going to be creating a hardship from a heath perspective. If we’re saying ‘hey let’s slow it down,’ we’re creating a hardship financially,” said Mayor Kawakami.
The mayors and the governor will reconvene their meeting again on Thursday, July 9. There is no word yet on if a decision will be made at that meeting.