Gov not looking to ease restrictions: ‘We are not there yet’

Coronavirus

The state announced four new positive COVID-19 cases on Monday. All were on the neighbor islands, none on Oahu. That brings our overall state total to 584.

Despite the low number of new cases and high recovery rate, the governor is not poised to loosen the stay at home order which is set to expire at the end of the month.

Gov. David Ige restated that overall Hawaii has done a good job in flattening the curve. But he says he needs to look at all the options before making any decisions on the current restrictions.

“We are not there yet. We are not at the stage where we can enter phase one of the president’s reopening process, which requires a 14-day period of reductions of cases,” said Ige.

The governor has appointed former Hawaiian Electric CEO Alan Oshima to put together a plan on how to open Hawaii’s economy. He said it will be done in several phases. And at this point we’re still getting through the first phase.

“We really have to address the critical needs that are facing us now, food needs, shelter, essential services and public health. As we move through this and some stability, we can now start to plan on what we call reopening,” said Oshima.

He adds that his plan is to push Hawaii for a thorough recovery not just economically but socially, with public health still a top priority. When it’s time to start opening the businesses, there will be a lot of thought and discussion among the experts.

“We will have to come to some discussion and decisions on which business to open first. This has to be a soft opening of our state, not one for all,” said Oshima.

The White House guidelines say states can also open their economy if the percentage of cases drop over a 14-day period.

KHON2 has been tracking that data and Hawaii has met that requirement. But the governor says he’s still not ready to ease the restrictions. He adds he needs to look long term because this virus will be around for a while.

“And so we may look at relaxing restrictions, and if we see a spike in the cases then we would look at re-enacting some of those restrictions,” said Ige.

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